My best friend growing up now lives about 1000 miles away from me, and though we don't talk often I always make a point of calling her every year on her birthday. She told me this year how much that has always meant to her especially as she has gone through a lot of rough times in her 38 years. Last year was probably one of the worst for her and so on her birthday she decided that this year was going to be her Year of Happiness. Whatever happens one day she would start the next day fresh and with a good attitude. If someone was bugging her, she wouldn't let it get to her as much. While I have had it very easy compared to her, I'm taking a bit of a cue from her on this.
I am originally from Denmark, a country that year after year is listed as the happiest in the world. It's really not that we're happy, but that we're content. First, we're not caught up in the materialistic needs that many Americans are. Second, we may settle with second best, but honestly is second best really that bad?
Having said that I think in many ways I am content (nice house, loving husband, happy healthy well-behaved kids, enough money in the bank to enjoy life). Really not much to complain about. But am I happy? Not so sure. I have some friends who I've had for a long time who I treasure, but they all live far away and at this point most of our contact is through Facebook. I don't really have any close friends close by. Plenty of friends but not that all important girlfriend to laugh with, and know that you could call anytime and they would be there for you. I think part of achieving my year of happiness will be finding that person.
The other part is making time for myself. I love my kids and my husband but everyone needs a break and to have some alone time. I am sending all three kids to camp this summer 2 days a week which will help. I would love to spend much of that time sitting outside and reading or just enjoying creative projects that I have been wanting to do but haven't had the time. I know that my sanity is greatly improved when I get a break. My husband does encourage it, but often with everyone's schedules it's hard to find the time.
Another part is to start caring more about how I look. I have my kids pick out their clothes the night before, and yet I usually end up throwing on some clothes, tossing my hair in a ponytail and going. If I'm lucky I showered before the kids woke up. I can't remember the last time I wore makeup on just a regular day. I'm in desperate need of a haircut and some new clothes. Taking care of that stuff will help me feel better about myself and therefore happier.
We're teaching our kids to set goals for themselves that are age appropriate - learning to ride a bike, tie your own shoes, learn to swim, that kind of stuff. So my goals for the next couple of months - find a good friend, take care of my appearance, make some time for me, stop being content and start being happy.