Well, I know it’s been some time since my last blog post. The truth is, I’ve been in a bit of a funk these past few months. After 18 months of change – from quitting smoking to moving house to going back to school and getting a new job – at the end of it all, I have ended up feeling not quite an elated as I thought I would feel. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but disappointed is the word that comes to mind. There have been some disappointments that came with the good and wonderful changes.
When I quit smoking, I thought that I would feel much better. I thought that I would have way more energy and I would be able to do all sorts of things because my lungs were smoke-free and I could, at last, fully breathe the oxygen this Earth provides for us. And at first I did have a whole lot of energy. But then I put on 15 lbs, which isn’t in itself a bad thing because I was a little on the skinny side. The problem I have with it, is all the weight is on my stomach giving me a pregnant look. I’m 52 years old, so I can’t pull it off!.
After I graduated school, I was offered what I thought was an amazing job. The pay was more than I had ever earned in my entire life and this was going to set me up for retirement. Finally, I thought smugly to myself, I have arrived. I am here. Life doesn’t get any better than this. I can afford … anything. But, after a week or two, I didn’t feel like I loved my job. I have loved my job before and this wasn’t the feeling. Someone wasn’t right, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. But – the pay was great and I could learn to love my job – right? Wrong. After 2 months I decided that I was kidding myself that I am going to be happy here – the people were rude and condescending and made me feel like crap. There is no amount of money in the world that’s going to make me work for a company that treats it’s people that way. So I left. I guess the smart thing would have been to find another job before leaving the old one. I’d used up all my unemployment insurance and so now I had no job, no money coming in. No problem, I thought. I’ll just get another job. And get another job I did – I actually managed to get an interview with a freight forwarding company that I had wanted to work for for some time – they pay well and treat their staff well. I got the job. A little less money than the last “dream job,” but more than what I was earning before, so I felt better, but still the disappointed feeling remained.
Then one evening I was thinking about calling a friend and going on a girly night out, when it suddenly hit me that all my friends – the ones I could go on girly nights out with anyway – had moved away from Vancouver and settled in other parts of the country. Which is funny because they made the move over a period of 4 or 5 years, but I only really noticed last month, how completely alone I was. And none of my children live in Vancouver anymore either, my youngest only recently moving to greener pastures in Alberta.
The feeling of mild disappointment turned into sadness.
Then … my cousin passed away suddenly. One day he was there large as life, making me laugh with his funny comments on face book, and the next day he was gone. Just like that. In my grief, I spent many nights wondering about the purpose of life and the cruelty of life. Brian left behind a partner who adored him. They were soul mates and he was devastated. Is devastated. I felt wretched for him. And for me. It made me realize that life is too short to feel mildly disappointed all the time. The time had come for me to take action.
Life is meant to be lived with joy and love and laughter. I read somewhere that our purpose here is to have a rockin’ good time. To enjoy every moment, to be happy and to love everyone and everything. Love is the key. I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling any of those things. I was feeling very disillusioned with life and wallowing in self pity.
So I bought a copy of Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project and started my own Happiness Project – for one year. One thing a month for a year
Here’s my list –
I have learned that the most important element to happiness is social bonds, so I resolve to tackle “My Relationship with Mr. Lifeology” and “Friends.” I’ve also learned that my happiness depends a great deal on my perspective, so I add “Eternity” and “Attitude” to my list. Work is crucial to my happiness, and also leisure, so I include the topics “Work,” and “Play” and “Passion.” “Energy” seems like a basic ingredient for my project. “Money” is certainly a subject I want to address. And “Mindfulness.” The 12th month will be a month in which I will try to follow all my resolutions perfectly. So I have my 12 categories.
I started October with the “Friends” resolution.. I joined the Red Hat Society. I’ll tell you why I picked the Red Hat Society. I find it hard to make friends because I have a ‘different’ kind of personality and a sense of humour not understood by many people. I don’t fit into most people’s neat little boxes. Anybody who is crazy enough to wear a red hat and a purple outfit and lots of eccentric, ugly jewelry nobody else would be seen dead in – in public, has got to fit in with my personality. And I was right. I fit right in – I have friends.
My first outing with them in my new red hat and purple dress.
It turns out that this outfit was very conservative, and so my next outing, a Halloween parade, I tried a bit harder to look a bit more eccentric
Getting better, right? I still have some work to do.
November, I will work on Energy. I figure that having more energy will be the starting point to help me tackle the other topics. I decided this yesterday morning and so I had one more day of indulgence before I began the serious business of eating better, exercising more, acting more energetic. I had a siimple day of doing things just for me. Complete pleasure. I think everyone needs a day of complete pleasure – often. And it was the springboard for making me feel good again – you know, that butterfly, feel-good feeling in the pit of your stomach when you see something you love, or do something you love. It was a perfect Fall day today. Clear blue skies, crisp col air, bright sunshine streaming through every window of my house at various times of the day. I stopped to take a look at it often and every now and then, I went outside and breathed it in – and it made me feel good. I puttered all day long doing things to the house that would make me feel comfortable and loved – a blanket on the couch, fresh linen on the bed. I cleaned and laundred, indulged in tea and chocolate – I didn’t even think about the calories much – watched a chick flick with a bowl of buttered popcorn, indulged in a supper of seafood pasta and a glass of wine and talked on the phone with my daughter.
I’m feeling … better.
Next post – Energy.
Cheers for now.