Saturday, November 1, 2014

30 Days of Gratitude: Happiness

A contemplative scene in our Albuquerque backyard last fall

I've been rather contemplative lately.  Probably because that's part of my natural state, and I feel like I'm finally returning to it after more than two years of not exercising due to injuries and high degrees of uncertainty due to the nature of The Beast's career.  The lack of exercise, especially, has had me reeling.  But I am finally starting to look and feel like me again!

I've remembered over the past couple of months how much I love being busy and, in contrast, just how mind-numbing being All Mom, All The Time can be for me.  Not always, and I wouldn't change the choices I have made, but I'm thrilled to be expressing other parts of myself again.  I'm really happy.  I'm not sure I have been so happy for awhile.  I'm downright bubbly again!

I'm taking two classes and sitting in on a third, all in preparation for sitting the exam to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.  So far I'm on track to take the exam during the summer of 2016!  I'm also singing and dancing in a musical, though I never would have considered myself any kind of dancer before.  I'm playing in a chamber orchestra, too.  And considering giving some flute lessons again.

I'm out of the house, preparing for performances, making music, socializing outside my roles as mother and wife for the first time since Bean was born.  I've also got a wonderful group of mom friends and we have productive meetings at least once a week (have you ever made 19 gallons of apple sauce in a day?!? We have!), so I'm not completely abandoning my children or eschewing that part of my identity!  And The Beast and I have been able to squeeze in some time together, too.

Me and my Dinoboys yesterday - Halloween fun!

With all this introspection going on, I thought I'd participate in the 30 Days of Gratitude this year, and do it via my blog.  The musical goes up this week, so wish me luck posting every day...I'll do the best I can!

Day 1: Happiness
Yesterday I was reveling in all the good things in my life and got to thinking about the moment I chose happiness.  After Mom's death, I just wanted the pain of her loss to end.  I have recently been rereading my teen journals (I am very slowly compiling them into something of a memoir), revisiting the anguish that had me begging G-d for relief and contemplating suicide.

Then one winter day - either my junior or senior year of high school - as I walked up a snowy hill to my boarding school dorm, I thought "I'm done with the thoughts of suicide.  I'm sticking around.  I don't want to live and be miserable, so I suppose I should figure out how to be happy." 

For awhile, it was a conscious choice to find joy and to be happy.  Along came college with adult freedoms that matched the weighty adult responsibilities, choices, experiences and circumstance I'd had for years.  When I did The Heart Project on campus at the very end of my time there, several friends were stunned to learn I didn't come from a stable home (to say the least).  College was the time when choosing happiness became easy.  Happiness would find me.  It was not - is not - constant (BORING!), but I had and have enough perspective to appreciate that the tough parts make the good ones that much better.

Reading my journals from so long ago, my happiness seems like a miracle.  So today I'm grateful simply for my happiness. 

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