**WARNING – LONG POST AHEAD, GRAB A SNACK**
I have never been a “happy” person by nature.
That’s a big statement to make and I don’t actually think I would have been able to make it until now…but I am happy I can.
I was voted “most pessimistic” in high school. Ironically, one of my best friends then (who is still a best friend now), was the total opposite – Mr. Sunshine, always in a good mood, full of positivity, living in the moment. I rolled my eyes at him with a smirk and went back to my glass half-empty approach. He constantly tried to fill it up. It never seemed to work.
I spent most of my adolescence and my 20s in this mind-frame.
I was not depressed or overly sad or anything, I had some great moments and memories, I just never felt that lightweight, effortless feeling of being truly happy. I was always stressing about the future, worrying about the past, striving for something else. I saw the negativity in the world and became nervous and uncertain about it and what it would hold for me and those I loved. I looked for conflict where it existed and even where it didn’t. I never felt secure in a moment of joy, because I always felt it would be fleeting.
And the saddest part of it all? I thought it was normal.
Just the way life is for someone who wasn’t born with Mr. Sunshine’s disposition. The way it would be. Life was fine, good even on many days, but it wasn’t great, and that was ok.
And then, it got great.
Just a few years ago, I found my happy. It may sound silly, it’s not like I went to Neiman Marcus and picked it up (though trust me, many things I have picked up there have brought me moments of sheer joy…) but suddenly, I found my happy.
I woke up to a world that felt like it was filled with promise and beauty. I found indescribable pleasure in simple things that I had ignored before. For seemingly the first time in my life, I physically felt that lightweight, effortless sensation of looking around and saying “I am so happy right now.”
And it hasn’t gone away.
So why write about it here? Because I believe many women out there just like me haven’t found their happy. They read about it in books, they watch shows for it, they try to shop for it, but it eludes them. They aren’t depressed, they have no real reason for complaint, on paper life should be good…but it doesn’t always feel like it.
So I thought I would share the few things that I believe led to my change in perspective….without me even realizing it. This is not my version of The Happiness Project, I promise. She did that and she did it well, though I am struggling with the book, in all honesty. I am not telling you to use this as a roadmap to a revelation. I just feel so much joy that when people ask me how I am doing these days I can sincerely say “I am doing great. We are so happy right now.” And mean it. And see the looks on their faces that sincerely say, “wow, I am so happy to hear that.” So I wanted to write about that. That’s the beauty of having your own blog. Here goes:
We moved. I can definitely say that a change in location was the single most important factor in finding my happy. We had lived in Los Angeles for ten years and in downtown Montreal for ten before that and almost two years ago, we moved south to a suburb in Southern California. My point of view practically changed overnight. I had never felt truly at home in LA – it was very good to me on numerous levels and I appreciate it immensely – but as soon as we made our new home, I started to look around at my surroundings, appreciate my space, and wake up with a new attitude. Sometimes the places we think we “should” be simply aren’t…
I found a hobby. Actually, two. I became more dedicated to this blog and really focused on my passion for writing, trend spotting, and building a community. And I learned to cook. I couldn’t boil water not too long ago and now find incredible joy in menu planning, hosting dinner parties, and perusing cookbooks in my spare time. I can’t tell you where it came from, but I can tell you what it brought me. Happy.
I started to look around. Really, physically look around. I engage my senses. That view outside our windows? It’s magnificent. Yes, we’re not in our dream home yet, but we’re in a pretty amazing starter home. The smiles on my kids’ faces when I remind them it’s Taco Tuesday? They glow. They physically glow, they light up the room. Bennie and the Jets by Elton John? It makes me sing. Loud. With the windows open. Now I play it often. That overpriced candle? I love the way it looks. It adds instant chic to any space. I now have one in every room.
I made more to-do lists. The menu planning is part of it. My work to-do list is another. My ical is another. I try to keep track of everything on paper rather than in my head, because it gives my mind more breathing room and an immense satisfaction when things get crossed off. And when they don’t, that’s fine, too. They simply shift to next week’s list.
I share my happy. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when you will ask me how I am and the answer will be “burnt out, tired, need a vacation.” Life is not perfect, life will never be perfect, the pessimist in me isn’t entirely dead and gone. But on my recent trip to Montreal, while catching up with old friends, I found myself continuously telling them how happy I am. I told the world in this blog post a while back. I will tell you over coffee and cupcakes…and heck, I may even make the cupcakes. And the more I talk about it, the more I find it to be true.
I have found happy. Now I am off to Neiman Marcus to find some more 😉
*photo above via here