Once upon a time I used to blog and then my kids started summer vacation and I was lucky to have time to shower. Now they are back in school and I have cleaned my house, ran and showered so I figured I might as well say a little something. About a month ago I bought this little sign for my house that says Happiness Is A Choice. I bought it mainly because I thought it was bull and Patrick and I have fun laughing at things that are bull. There are so many external factors that interfere with our happiness on a daily basis how could it possibly be a choice of our own. First and foremost in the external factor category is the stupidity of people that we wish we could avoid but for one reason or another we just can't. Peoples choices are like that whole butterfly effect thing...only actually real not like a crappy Ashton Kutcher movie. Sometimes it's inadvertent but there are those times when people just want to be asshats, and their choices and actions trickle down into your realm and mess stuff up.
Before I begin on my real rant I just want to say...Don't do that. It's mean and makes you a big, fat jerk. But if that's how you are then the point is probably to be mean and these words are lost on you. So I'll say this instead...If you are mean and trying to be a big, fat jerk at least own it. Don't pretend to be a good person when you obviously aren't.
Now back to the point...Over the last few weeks I've been doing a little self experiment and it goes like this. When I wake up in the morning I list 10 things that I am grateful for or make me happy. They don't have to be different every day. And they don't have to be big things. Sometimes I'm grateful I remembered to run the dishwasher so I didn't have to wash bowls for the kids breakfast. That's step one. Step two...exercise. I know it's stupid but I always feel better when I exercise. I'm a bit self loathing and this shows that I am at least making an attempt at a better, healthier me. And it gives me time to just zone out for an hour before I have to get on with the real world. Step 3...If something comes up during the day take 5 minutes before giving any type of response. This gives you a chance to be more careful in your words or actions towards someone else, or if it's just a mental thing to calm down and put it in perspective. A few weeks ago my mom put this on my facebook wall.
It's kind of what started this whole thing. I am the type of person that will sit and stress over a thousand different outcomes to one scenario without taking into account that 999 won't even happen and I shouldn't be wasting the time and energy stressing about it. I know that there are a lot of people like me who waste a lot of time with unnecessary stressing. So, I saw this thing from my mom and then a day or so later I saw a quote in a photoshop discussion forum that said "Happy people aren't grateful. Grateful people are happy." I decided to put these two ideas together and see if happiness really is a choice separate from all the crap we have to deal with from other people. And my personal conclusion is that it really is. When I spend time everyday focusing on the things in my life that I am grateful for instead of stressing over unimportant (and sometimes important but shouldn't be all consuming) crap, I am much happier and therefore my family is much happier. I spent a lot of years having guilt for doing anything for myself. As a women we are taught that our families come first. Our husbands, kids, home and any other responsibilities we have take precedence over ourselves. One thing that I have realized in doing my experiment is that all of things I just listed make me who I am. I wouldn't be me without my husband and kids and friends. So choosing to take time to better yourself benefits them almost as much as it does you. So I'm not going to have guilt when I take a nap after I spend 5 hours cleaning carpet or get a pedicure because it makes me feel pretty because those things make me happy. And I choose to be happy.