Thursday, August 6, 2009

some random thoughts on happiness

I've been reading a lot about happiness and personal fulfillment, trying to find more balance and serenity in my life. Which got me thinking about all of the little things in my life that really make me happy, and how much my perspective has changed as I've gotten older. When I was younger I thought it would be the big, planned, fancy stuff that would leave the biggest impression on me, and be the happiest moments in my life. Well, I've experience a lot of big, planned, fancy events, and they are usually the most stressful because there is so much at stake! As it turns out the smaller, more intimate and impromptu moments provide most of my (and my family's) happiness. I'm such a sentimental romantic and I used to spend a lot of time looking for and creating these "grand" gestures , only to be disappointed and frustrated a lot of the time. Because fantasy (my wishes) and reality (my life) were about a million miles apart.

I had a hard time understanding and accepting that small, everyday gestures were the big things, if you understand what I mean.

I've been seeing a lot that makes me smile, and leaves me feeling happy, when I visit here.

These are happiness moments for me as well: whenever my family and I take a walk on the beach we always come home with some new bits of sea glass, shells or pretty rocks. We don't talk about or plan on collecting those things, but my husband and my girls know how I love them, so they fill their pockets with whatever they can find - and they do it for me even when I'm not with them- isn't that great?! I have jars and bowls of these collections all over my house and they remind me of my family's love for me, and our relaxing times together, walking the coast. Those little pieces of broken glass and sea shells and bits and pieces are so special to me, and mean more to me than I ever thought something so inconsequential could mean.

Something else that makes me smile after 20+ years: whenever Mr.H&H brings me a glass of water to drink, he always puts ice and lemon in it for me. Always!! Because that's the way I like it, and he wants to please me in some small way. I try to remember to just be in the moment (me and my glass of water!) and savor it, because these are the moments that keep me buoyed up when things get tough, when I feel like I'm sinking under the weight of all my responsibilities, and my self-imposed perfectionism. (And, of course, the Mom syndrome, trying to make a perfect life for everyone. But that's another story altogether.) Funny how a glass of water can help.... but sometimes I need that one little sign that I'm worth fussing over, just a little. A slice of lemon, a few cubes of ice....what a difference they make! Silly, isn't it??

Feeling gratitude now for those small things in my life doesn't mean that I'll ever fully let go of my romantic ideals of the truly grand gesture ( the sky-written love messages, flowers, romantic weekends, dishes in the dishwasher and clean bedrooms without reminding anyone). But I guess I'm finally growing up, now that I've entered the 5th decade of my life (or is it the 5th dimension?).

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