I had been in a “funk” lately, and just couldn’t put my finger on what the reasoning was. Sharing this with another mom after the usual preschool drop off, she posed this question to me, “What do you do that makes you feel happy?” I scoffed at her, and immediately pointed out the obvious. My three glorious children make me happy. Watching them play soccer makes me happy. Hugging them makes me happy. Cuddling with them under a big blanket watching movies and eating popcorn makes me happy. I could have gone on like this for hours. She just shook her head. “No, no, no…what do YOU do for YOU that makes YOU happy? Everything you said just revolved around your children.” Now THERE was a question I couldn’t answer.
I Really. Didn’t. Know. I mean, what is “happy” anyway? Is it feeling content? Is it doubling over in laughter? Is it simply getting your “to do” items checked off your list? I guess I had no idea. So I started thinking back…to… (wait for it) a time before kids, or BK! Also a time where I didn’t have quite as much responsibility, just out of school, not married yet…and got lots of sleep! (insert Scooby Doo sound effects)…
There was a time that I went walking every day. Maybe with music blaring in my ears, or maybe with a friend, but I walked every day…and I looked forward to it! Some people run, some people lift weights, maybe take a Zumba class…but whatever chemicals that are released during that time that I was in constant motion, breathing in the crisp outdoor air, and feeling the sun shine down on my face…it made me feel SOMETHING! Was it happiness? I have no idea, but it was GOOD!
There was also a time before the kindle (yes, another BK!) that I couldn’t wait to get another moment to open up whatever book I was reading to find out what was happening next! From childhood, reading had been one of my passions. Nowadays, the closest thing I was reading to a book was the instruction manual for Lego Minecraft, or a grocery list – if I could find the time to make one. Apparently, reading was also on my list of “happy things”.
I started to think of “happiness” as feeling I get when I am able to dive headfirst in to a hobby that I truly, truly love! Cooking, gardening, music and crafting were all high up on my list. Planting sunflower seeds in spring, and waiting for my very favorite flowers to bloom at the end of summer gave me something to look forward to! Playing music while cooking is a double dose!
Maybe I do know how to make me happy, and I just plain FORGOT! In the hustle and bustle of being a wife, mother, volunteer, friend, daughter, therapist, neighbor, taxi driver, chef, landscaper, auto mechanic…okay maybe not all, honey (wink, wink)…doing things that made me feel great got pushed so far down the list, they fell off the paper!
Now comes the challenge of knowing what I need to do, but fitting it in to this crazy life! In order to take care of our families, taking care of ourselves must be first on our list of priorities…written in permanent ink.