Monthly Archives: February 2018

The 52 Lists (for Happiness) Project #6

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List the things (from your past and present) that feel like blockades in the way of happiness:

  • Not enough money. I’ve had a running list, all of my adult life, of things I want or things I think I need once I have enough money. The list has changed madly over the years. So much, sometimes, that I think to myself, “Thank God I didn’t come into a windfall, or I would have…[whatever stupid thing I wanted to do or buy that no longer seems desirable or sensible]” There are things I’ve managed to acquire, that have not brought me the satisfaction I thought they would. Others – though I never managed to get them – that I got by very well without. I know money doesn’t buy happiness. Still, I know there are ways that the lack of it stymies my pursuit of things that would bring me great satisfaction.
  • Not enough time. I guess, if money were no object, I would have more time. They kind of go hand-in-hand. If I didn’t live hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck, and always a little bit behind, I could spend more time with family and friends. There would be more time for the studio. More time for long walks, for sitting with a good book, for just sitting. The more I dwell on the idea of “time,” the more I know that I’m ready to spend less of it working for others, and more to follow my own heart.
  • Too much “crazy.” I’ve been wondering, lately, if perhaps I have Attention Deficit Disorder, left undiagnosed in my whole long life. Why must I have three – or more – things going on at once? I can watch a movie…if I am in my studio, simultaneously sorting odds and ends while working on at least one art project…with a book nearby. I can watch a television program, as long as there are commercial breaks when I can jump up to do a few jumping jacks, or put clothes into the dryer. Usually, during the program, I toggle between that, Pinterest, Facebook, and the news. Often I use cleaning time to also catch up on telephone calls. A day off overwhelms me with all the possibilities, and all the directions I want to follow. I know my mad pursuit of “everything all at once” gets in the way of truly appreciating any one thing.

With all of that being said, I think the most important words in the instructions are “feel like.” Because, really, the items I’ve listed are pretty minor in this large world. War, poverty and natural disasters take their toll; political disagreements and division cause bitterness; sickness and death know no boundaries. I am affected by all of it…we all are. We can’t avoid it. We can decide how we proceed, though. I rant and rail against injustices and heartbreaks large and small…and yet I am content. Not every minute, or even every single day, but, mostly, I’m happy. Because I choose to be.

A New Month

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Here is February. On Beaver Island, it comes with colder temperatures than we’ve seen in a couple weeks, and lots of fresh snow. In my house, the new month causes an assessment of progress “so far,” and a renewed commitment for the future.

Looking over the “Task and Activity Tracker” for the month of January in my Bullet Journal, I can see – first of all – that my fancy method for marking completed tasks was a bust. It was hard to fill in, and got pretty sloppy-looking early on. It is very hard to see where I succeeded and where I failed. Perhaps that’s not all bad, because I had plenty of areas where my performance was less than stellar. My daily yoga fell off by the last week of the month. My “no sugar” and “no spending” goals never took off at all. In fact, reading – which I have always done every day for the last sixty years – is the only thing that was marked off on each day of January.

That’s okay. This is a new month. I have a renewed commitment and a brand new tracker. This month, I have an easy-to-read grid, and completed activities are marked with a simple “X.” In February, I will be serious about exercise and all the other areas of self-improvement that are important to me. I will continue making time for studio work and home-improvement projects. I will write letters!

January is usually a month for correspondence: thank you notes for gifts and cards, responses to holiday mail, general greetings and “I’m still here” messages. Not this year. I’m still far behind in that respect. It just so happens, the month of February is International Correspondence Writing Month (InCoWriMo). Perfect! So, along with many other participants, I committed to writing a letter each day, for the 28 days in this month. Today is February 3rd; I’m writing two letters today, because I (already!) missed yesterday. It seems like that’s the norm when it comes to me and commitment.

Still, it’s way too close to the beginning of the month to start getting discouraged. Every new page of the calendar is a chance for starting over. And if you know me, you know how much I love a fresh start!