Happiness Pushups

A year or so ago my mom sent me a care package, stuffed with the usual photocopies of comics, recipes, interesting newspaper or MacLean’s articles – and of course a card, chocolate, and other neat things. Usually the paper stuff is browsed through while I savour the chocolate, then tossed. Ahem. Recycled. But one article, for some reason, found its way under my couch, then into a book as a placemarker, then strewn with other papers across the livingroom floor by Cameron. So I rediscovered it. It’s about ‘new’ research about ways that people can change their outlook on life; their happiness. The quote at the end, “Happiness is the process, not the place,” caught my interest.

So many things in life are. A few years ago (wow … was it that long ago?) Chris and I had an enlightening discussion about forgiveness. About how it’s a process, not an endpoint, and ways to approach it as such. I can see that happiness is much the same.

Generally I think I’m a happy person, but people who have known me a while know that I struggle with it. Depression lurks, hides in shadows, and pounces given the opportunity. When I find myself fending off another wallow, it helps to actively work on the process of being happy. I’m not in that mindset right now, but it’s not like one can ‘reach happiness’, as it’s not a place to reach. You can’t (or at least, I can’t) sit happily on your ass and expect everything to just be rosy.

One of the things I do now and then is sort of happiness training. It’s so easy to lose yourself in the trudge of everyday life. Yes I know that’s not the right usage for the word trudge, but it just feels right. It’s easy to see only the schedule of your week, and the what-comes-next, and expect happiness to arrive in great big eventful barrels. The thing is, look at life that way for too long, and you can’t see the everyday happinesses because you’re too busy wishing for a happiness-barrel to drop from the sky. Which, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, doesn’t happen that often. You can work up unrealistic expectations of happiness that way. So the ‘training’ I do is sort of a small happiness pushup. I make myself recognize at least three small things that made me happy each day. Big rule, they can’t all be Cameron.

I played with Nimoo for the first time in months. Poor kitty was so obviously thrilled to have me all to herself for a bit. She ran and wriggled and pounced and mock-growled and arch-back-tiptoe-danced across the floor.

The yard maintenance people left the rose bushes alone again this year. YAY! The red ones flower in clusters, several of these crowns are starting! The yellow globe rose has what looks like fifty good buds, some have ruffles of gold starting to peek between the sepals. I look forward to my kitchen being filled with rose perfume in a week or so! The red ones aren’t very strongly scented, but the yellows … they remind me of Nana’s garden. It is gone now, but the memory is a happy one, one I like to hold on to.

Cameron singing “Pop goes the weasel” for the police officer we spoke with on our way home, outside the police station. “Round and round! Round and round! Round … ? MONKEY! CHASE! WEASEL! POP! Pop. Pop. … Weeeeeeeasel.” He’d surprised me and chosen police station over fire hall for some unknown reason, and wanted to look inside the police cars we walked past. He was so thrilled to see a “Police Man” in a car. I must’ve been beet red. She understood.


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