I’ve been feeling really good lately. Like, sincerely happy. Thankful for each day. Content.
I don’t know if this has to do with the transition back to school, the start of my favorite season with its magnificent colors and crispness to the air, or just arriving at the final portion of a year where I’ve been stretched and stressed and challenged a lot.
I feel like I can breathe more deeply and see all that’s in front of me with more clarity. I’m a wiser and slower and more thoughtful person than I was a year ago. I have better perspective.
This year was hard in many ways – round two with a newborn, plus a toddler was more of a mountain to climb than I ever anticipated. Add marriage stress that comes with the crazed, exhausted parent territory, and turmoil in other relationships, plus an unexpectedly busy summer with preschool camp plans evaporated and both kids home full-time – 2016 has been a doozy. When it rains, it pours.
But I’m kind of done talking about hard. I’m just kind of over it. My skin is thicker, my sleep requirements a little lower and my time management skills sharpened after the year that I’ve had. I know more about myself and feel the need to explain myself less. I’ve done a lot of explaining this year. I’m kind of over that, too.
I was talking with my sister-in-law recently, who always seems happy. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever heard her complain, or nag, or see any given glass as “half-empty.” She asked me at a birthday party recently how I was doing, and I said, “Really well. I feel like I’m just in a really good place.” She was happy for me (as she always is), and said things were good for her, too. I asked if fall was her favorite season too, as it is mine. She replied that not really, she’s happy with any season, and any day, even the dreary middle of winter, she honestly enjoys.
The way I’m describing my sister-in-law’s outlook may sound trite, or superficial. But I assure you, it’s not. She’s just one of those aware, determined-to-be-happy people. I have seen her in situations that would be devastatingly low for most people, and she is doggedly determined to be grateful and press on. Always.
So I’m someone who believes all feelings are valid. We should never feel pressured to say we’re better or worse than we really are. If you’re in a bad place – by all means, talk about it. But if you’re in a good place, talk about that, too. We all want to be there, and we want to know what’s working for others to bring balance, contentment and joy to their life.
For me, I’m remembering time is my most precious commodity. Am I spending it on the people and things that matter? When my head hits the pillow, what are my biggest “time drain” regrets? What really mattered about my day, and made a positive difference? What didn’t matter, or took me back a step from where I want to be?
A lot of the time it’s the routine, mundane days that make me feel best. Days I spend relatively “unplugged” from the noise of TV, social media, shallow banter and clutter – tend to be some of my favorites. Getting into my groove with how I take care of my home, keep up on my responsibilities, maintain a good rhythm and routine for my kids, check in with my husband throughout the day. Those patterns, those little things done over and over – those make for good days.
Nothing revolutionary here perhaps, but it just feels really good to be in a good place in my own little corner of the world. So much good can come into our lives if we simply commit to being aware. Aware of how we spend our time. Aware of how we speak of others. Aware of our own feelings. Aware of how we treat our spouses, friends, kids.
What has caught your attention lately? What needs more of it? I hope you feel more good than grief when your head hits the pillow tonight. And if you don’t, think about how you can feel better at the end of tomorrow.
I have always appreciated these words by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and have maybe even shared them on this blog before. I keep meaning to frame something like this and put it next to my bed…
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”