Monday, December 31, 2012

A Happiness Project

I get very introspective/contemplative/pensive on New Year's Eve.

It gives me an excuse to sit around and do nothing while claiming to be "thinking" and "writing".

I think about what I have done, what I have learned, what I need to do, what I can do better.

And for the first time in a long time I feel pretty happy about things.  Oh, I still have a long way to go, and can make a long list of the things I can do better -- I still can't play a stringed instrument, I'm still not organized, I don't blog every day and my butt is still the same size it was last December 31st.

I need to send more cards and letters.  I need to visit those who need a visit.  I need to walk more, enhance my yoga practice (read:  start), eat more fruits and vegetables, work for peace, completely boycott Wal-Mart and avoid all drive-thru restaurants (except for Starbucks.  I'm not a saint.)

I need to appreciate who I am and what I do best.
In 2012 (ie, today) I learned/realized that what I do best is make people happy.

I make people happy when I teach them something new.
I make people happy when I play the piano with my wacky and inaccurate enthusiasm.
I make people happy when I blog.  Here you go, friends -- now be happy.
I make people happy when I make them something -- cookies, a blanket, supper.
I make people happy when I listen to them.
I make people happy when I show up.  (Now, I know this sounds pompous, but every Sunday when I walk through the doors at Our Lady of Providence and Pat Burton greets me with a hug and an "I'm so glad you're here," I know I have made him happy.  Showing up and being present is a great gift.)

Making people happy makes me happy.  So, I'll close with one happy story.

Last month, as Clay and I were laughing and talking about 30 years of marriage, I made a off-hand "promise" that in the next 30 years, I would never get mad at him again.
With one month down, I am happy to report I have kept that vow.

It should be noted that: A) he is pretty terrific; B) he works hard at keeping me happy and rarely gets mad at me; C) our children are all grown up and therefore we don't have all those parenting differences/arguments; D) we are both a lot wiser, more appreciative and more patient with each other than we were in 1982.

(Here is an amazing thing.  I just tried to list the things that made me angry in the past, and each thing I typed seemed small, petty and not worth getting mad at in the first place.  Ahh.  Enlightenment is lovely.)

And here is another amazing thing.  These past 30 days -- despite the holiday and everyday stresses -- have been some of the best days I can remember.  I joked with Clay that on November 29, 2042 (the day after our 60th Anniversary) I was looking forward to really getting mad at him.

I think, instead, I'm looking forward to looking back on the best 30 years I can remember.

Peace.  And happiness.

PS  Have you read this book?  You should.  And follow her, here.

1 comment:

  1. You sound like a wonderful person! So many thoughts as I read this ... first off, if your butt is the same size as a year ago, that's not too bad :) I love the Happiness Project idea and I want to check that out now. How wonderful about not arguing with your husband for the next 30 years ... wow, my first thought was that he must be a great guy, but then again -- it says a lot about you as well. Here's to 29 11/12 more years of that! I love your list of how you make people happy. I need to do that too -- it would be a real positive I think, and who couldn't use that? Especially during a dreary Indiana winter. I'm so glad I found you!