Finding your “happy”

I am not a calm person. At all. I’m the opposite of calm. But I’d really like to be one of those centered people who lead balanced lives and know how to approach each day feeling blessed and, well……happy.

How do those people get that way?  Is it their nature?  Are they as mixed-up and semi-neurotic as I feel like I am?  Do they just have a better way of covering it all up?

Journaling. Yoga. Meditation. Therapy. Getting enough sleep. Getting enough exercise. Eating healthy. “Me time”. Where do these all fit in when the true priorities have to be family, your children, your marriage, your career?

I think that, eventually, we allow life to turn us into machines. Machines need fuel. That’s it. Machines don’t need to feel fulfilled. They don’t need validation. They don’t feel guilt. You put some source of fuel into them, and they do the job. Human beings aren’t designed that way.

It’s exhausting to try to be everything to everyone. After a while, you lose your “happy”. When that happens, it’s scary. And sad.

I’m not talking about “depression”. I’m simply talking about when – from the
time you wake up, until the time you go to sleep – you always sort of feel like you didn’t quite do it. You didn’t respond to your 8 year-old in the way that you should have. You let her push your buttons. Or you didn’t really listen to your 11 year-old because you taught all day & had to be mommy/counselor/teacher/therapist to about 150 16 year-olds all day and you’re just plain done! Or you snapped at your 5 year-old because he asked for a glass of milk 52 times AND wants you to turn on Sheriff Callie on he Disney Channel AND wants you to hold him – all while you’re trying to get all of he family activities for the next month on the dry-erase calendar on the refrigerator.

You lost your cool.

Or – like in my case – you never really had it.

Can people change when it comes to this? Can you take someone who always feels out of control and turn them into a person who can take that step back and get centered?

I wonder.

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Lovin’ Lamb

I can’t get enough of this author.  I can’t explain what it is about him.  I get lost in his writing.  As a “portrait of modern America, exploring issues of class, changing social mores, the legacy of racial violence, and the nature of creativity and art”, We Are Water did not disappoint me.  

I’m a teacher of literature.  I love the classics.  I’m one of those dull, English-teacher-y types who loves to get lost in novels of the past; contemporary lit just doesn’t often do much for me.  Anything by Wally Lamb is the exception.  

Read it.

It’s good.Image

Filling the well

Filling the well

A very wise woman recently asked me a question that really got me thinking…..

“What fills your well?”

I had no idea what she meant.  What fills my well?  What well?

She went on to explain….

“Everyone has a well,” she said.  “With each person or situation that we encounter in our lives, water is taken from the well.  Everyday things, like careers, parenthood, marriage, schedules, sickness….all of these things take from the well.  If we don’t fill up our wells, then all we have left is a couple inches of murky, cloudy water.  In order to be fulfilled in life, we all have to add to the well.”

That made sense.

“So,” she continued. “What fills your well?”

I’ve been thinking about this question for some time now.  It shouldn’t be a difficult question, really.  I feel like I should easily have been able to come up with a list.  But, I couldn’t.  I think part of the reason for this is that it’s easy to get all wrapped up in the parts of life that take the water out, and we forget to fill it up again.  But, there’s more to it.  When I first thought about this, all I could think about was how selfish it seems to focus on filling my own well.  I’m a wife and a mother of three.  It’s not all about me.  Then I realized something.

We all need to be okay with making it a little bit about us.  It simply has to be okay.  If we don’t fill the well up a little bit every now and again, we are left with that murky, cloudy water….and what good is that?

So, today I’ve decided to start filling the well.  I doubt that anyone will follow this blog.  (Well, maybe my husband will.)  But I love the idea of keeping track of the things that really do add joy to my life.  These include very important people, such as my children, my husband, my friends and my family; and they include the silly little things that enrich my life:  knitting, antiquing, baking, cooking, musical theater, reading….all of these things are the things that give me my “happy” in life.  Blogging about them will help me to pay attention to how much the good far outweighs the bad in my life.  Sadly, we all need an occasional reminder of this.

I am grateful to the woman who asked me to figure out what fills my well.