I’m trying very hard to be happier. I have recently realized that I don’t always seem like a happy person. Anyone who drives with me on a regular basis can see that I’m usually very unhappy with most of the drivers on the road around me. I’m constantly asking drivers what their problem is, why are they in such a hurry (or why are they going so slow), or why they don’t seem to know where they’re going, and why they have to be in front of me when I’m in a hurry.
I’ve been unhappy with my weight. Getting older, stress eating, having thyroid problems, and eating when I’m bored have left me weighing more than I want to. I won’t get into numbers, but I am at least two sizes bigger than what I’m comfortable with. All over the internet, I read that I need to love myself for what I am and who I am, no matter what size. I’m trying. Though it doesn’t mean I’m not going to keep exercising and do weight watchers, I will try to be more forgiving and gentle with myself as I would do with anyone else.
I’m stressed in my job. Going back to work after so long has been very difficult. The field has changed tremendously since I’ve been gone. Also, being a working mom is difficult for me. I’m sure it’s difficult for most women, but it’s definitely difficult for me. It’s getting better, but it hasn’t been easy. I don’t want to let my students down and I don’t want to let my family down. And in feeling this way, I worry that I’m doing both.
I have daily headaches. I get annoyed and frustrated because it’s the Christmas season and we aren’t sure when we’re moving, so we don’t know if and when and where to put up decorations and a tree. This feels bad to me to not have any signs of the holidays at our house, so I need to figure out what to do in order to help us ALL get into the spirit. Which reminds me that I have to start shopping, which has to be mostly online, which is daunting to me at this point.
But this week, I’m not sure what happened, but something changed. Maybe it’s all the Ted talks I’ve been listening to. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to be the negative person that I think I might becoming. I wonder if the reason why I don’t have nearly as many friends as others have is because I’m not a happy enough person. Am I spreading gloom everywhere? Am I bad company to be around?
Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to be happier. I try to tell myself stories about people making terrible driving mistakes. Maybe they’re not paying attention because someone in their family is sick and they’re distracted. Maybe they’re stressed and overstretched. Maybe they’re not sleeping well. Maybe they’ve got more problems than I can imagine. I try to just smile at people, rather than look past them. When the checker at the grocery store returns my question of “How are you?” I will not tell her how I’m exhausted and whatever else is happening. I will smile and say “pretty good.” Maybe soon I’ll be able to say, “Great!”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not UNhappy. I have more than I need. I am loved. I am healthy. I am living in a country that – while so many events are making me very sad and very angry and somewhat afraid – is free. I live in a community that pulls together and helps each other. I have friends. I have an amazing family.
This week, I’ve made a concerted effort to be happier, and so far, I am. I noticed this evening that my forehead is smooth, and my head hasn’t hurt as much as usual this weekend. (I did have headaches, just not as many, and I tried to take notice of the times I didn’t hurt.)
Of course, it’s easier to be happy when I’m on vacation and home with my family. I hope I can take this with me tomorrow as I drive to work and during the day when my students aren’t listening. I hope that I can just choose to be happier, and in doing so will truly be happier and perhaps even spread it around a little every day.