Thursday, April 24, 2008

Happiness and Survival

I read a lot of different blogs. And I catch little glimpses into other peoples lives. I am not naive enough to think that what I read is exactly what their lives are really like. I know that what we read in blogs is generally filtered and rewritten to some extent. Even the sad, horrible stories are not all of the truth. In general. I try to be very open and truthful in my blog. Since it is, mostly, for me and only secondly for whoever happens to read it. I write about my life, usually, to help me see it clearer.

So, on that note, I have a subject that has been bothering me quite a bit lately.

Happiness. How to be happy. To enjoy your life. To revel in the everydayness of it. Without falling into the "survival" mode where you go day to day just trying to make it to the next.

That's where I am right now, I think.

Of course, I have my moments. Those shining, glorious moments of pure happiness and joy. They usually revolve around my children or my husband.

Which leads me to wonder. How do I find happiness for myself. And fulfillment for myself that does not revolve around my children and my husband? I mean, OK. I am a wife and mother. That is the majority of my life. And that does fulfill me and make me happy up to a certain point.

But I feel like something is missing. Something just for me. Something to make me get up in the morning and be happy to start my day and not dreading 12 diaper changes and a grumpy teen and husband. Something to give me a purpose beyond just being mommy.

Maybe this is something that I will just have to put on hold. So much of my life right now is tied up in "being mommy". I really don't see room for much else, right now. But.... what about in 4 years? When both boys are in school, the girl is in college and it is just me during the day? What do I want to do with my life? What do I want to be when I grow up?

I have a Business Degree. A bachelors. And I also have most of my masters. I only have 5 classes left to finish it. But, wow, is that what I want to be? A business person all dressed up in suits and dealing with other people's money all day? Really? No. I don't think so.

The problem is that I have absolutely no idea what I do want to do. I have absolutely no idea what will make me happy. Now OR in the future.

I go from day to day trying to raise my children and do a good job at this whole "housewife" gig. I try to do things to make my children happy. And to make my husband happy. So, what can I do to make MYSELF happy?? well, that's the big question, isn't it?

Don't get me wrong, I am not UNhappy by any means. I mean, like everybody, I have my days. I have my weeks even. Of days when I just want to crawl in bed and never come out. Where if I have to change another diaper I may just kill myself. (JK) But, overall, I am very happy with my life, with my children, with my husband, with my choices. But.... not too happy with myself.

I think that that is what it all boils down to for me right now. I am not happy with myself. With the way I look, with the way I act sometimes and in general just with myself. And it is impossible to be happy with your situation if you are not happy with yourself.

So, in the first step towards making myself happier with who I am... I am really going to start buckling down with the weight loss. If I lose weight, I will be healthier and happier. Is it a cure all? Of course not. There are tons of skinny women out there who are unhappy. But, but, but... it is a first step. And I need to really start trying to take time for myself. When I am not worrying about the children or the house or my husband. When I am just doing what I want to do.

Any suggestions on how to get to my happy place?


The Not So Simple Things In Life said...

Can't help ya on getting to that happy place as I feel just as you do with it all...but on the other hand I am so frigin jealous it's killing me...why you ask? Well because someone chatted on the phone today with my how come I don't get to do that?

Chelle said...

Let me know if you figure anything out... I could used some help too!

heartfull said...

Find a book club! You mentioned that you thought mine sounded great - well there are smart, thoughtful women every where. We just have to find them. None in your area? Start one. The woman who started ours had lived here for a year and no one asked her to be in one so she said screw it, and started her own. All she did was ask women that she thought would *like* to read interesting books. But of course, anyone is welcome to come. And, as I know you have read, we have a really great time. And it is something to prepare for and look forward to. And it is one of the few things in my life that are all about me.

Loosing weight: I gained weight all winter and felt like crap and and taking my frustration and anger at myself out on my family. So last week I finally decided that on those occasions when I felt like snacking, or having a second piece of pizza, I would ask myself "is it worth the bad feelings later" - because it never is. I've dropped a couple pounds already and I'm hoping to be back to my goal weight before the pool opens.

I know you are on a budget, but go shopping. There are cute things at Target, Walmart and Payless! Get a pair of fun shoes in a really bright color. It is amazing what they do for a pair of jeans!

I hope all this doesn't sound superficial. But honestly, I was feeling down (mostly due to the weight) but all three of the above things have happened to me over the past week or so and it is amazing how the little things add up to lift my mood.

Jaylana said...

It is the simple things in life.

1) Find the good in everything. No matter how bad that 12th diaper is, there is something good to come with it...a smile from Mal, the chance to tickle the Boy, the opportunity to straighten up an area.

2) Get off yer ass and lose the weight. Yes, easier said than done. Take the kids for a 30 minute walk every day. Load them up on their riders and you walk. Or during nap time, do some yoga. Laugh if you want, but yoga is a fast way to tone everything. I think Core Power Yoga has a free 2 week trial - you can watch online, and the regular monthly fee is reasonable. All you need is you, comfortable clothing, and a towel or mat - no special purchase required.

3) Write. I know you. Just do it. Good, bad, indifferent, you're only ever truly happy when you're writing SOMEthing. Maybe something more than this blog. Steal 30 minutes a day and make it yours.

Love you!

Claudia said...

Yup, don't ask others how they got to their happy spots. You have to find your path all on your own or it won't be yours. It takes time before we can remove the blinders and find that source within us that will supply us with the energy and self-love we need to be content. Happy. We try to do what everyone else is doing and forget we aren't everyone else and then lose sight of what is right for who we are. Your solution is there, you just have to step back and 'see' it. Trust me. You're already half way there, beautiful. Maybe you DO need a Claudia visit, eh?? Smack you around a bit? * hugs * If you ever need someone to talk to I'm here. I won't preach, I'll listen though.

Lesley said...

A few years ago I was sitting in the same boat - love being a mother and wife but felt like I didn't really have an identity outside the family life.

In steps Bunco...

And voila! Presto chango I now have a date on the last Friday of every month with 11 other ladies. We laugh, we tell silly stories, anecdotes and have just started doing a book exchange because it turns out that most of us are book-lovers.

Bunco is a dice game, a little hard to explain but I'll try. 12 women, 3 tables, 4 person/table. You are partners with the person across from you and you have to roll 3 dice and count 6's. The "head" table starts and stop each round when they get to 25 and based on your score it tells you which table to move to. You switch partners every round so you visit with each person sometime over the course of the evening - usually 3 hours. We each pay $10 and that goes to the buy the prizes and we take turns hostessing at our own houses.

It's funny how one night out a month can make such a huge difference in my life but it has. I think it's because it's something that is just for me...

I hope you find a niche that fulfills whatever you feel you're missing :o)

Life's too short, Aaron's a funeral director and he sees that first hand everyday.

Nana The Nana said...

I am not sure where to begin. Just know I love you too. I am always here for you.

A long time ago I decided the only thing I wanted to do when I grew up was to be a wife and mother. So, needless to say, my dreams did come true many times over. I have loved my life even in times of stress and lack of money.

I think the first thing we all need to do is make up our minds that what we are doing now, at the moment, is just what we are supposed to be doing. I know sometimes it seems like we are fighting with what we wish we could do and what we have no choice but to do. I think you have to come to a point that you are just happy being in the "now".

Keep writing, you love doing that. Keep reading you love doing that. Find time for some you time at least for a bath now and then without kids after you. Have some special time for talks with your girl, she is growing up so fast. And of course those special moments with the hubby. Some day in the not so far future you will stop and remember all those little things and know those were the best days of your life and wish you could have that time back now and then.

In closing, let me just say this, I love you and am proud of you. Keep on keeping on and with all you do every day, remember, it will not be long at all and you will sit back and wonder where all those years went, and your oldest will be turning 40, just like I am doing now. Was my life what I wanted? I am not sure, I do know I am very proud of all my children and am greatful every day for my life. Enjoy yours every day, even when it is a very trying day....

Jessica said...

You just perfectly explained how I feel alot. I hate feeling like I'm in survival mode. I try to readjust my thinking but sometimes I think it is necessary, you know, for survival.

I also hate feeling like I am missing something. It's always something: I wish I weighed less, I wish I stayed home, I wish I could make a ton of money while staying home, I wish I could find my niche.

I truly think that you will find satisfaction as the children are a little older. I know not all mothers do but many of us put alot of our own needs to the side for our children. It's part of being a mom. It is hard on us but we do it and I think you are able to pick up a little more of yourself as time goes by.

I know from talking with my SIL that being a SAHM is wonderful and harder at the same time. Less adult interaction and not so much time for yourself. I admire all you do and hope that you find some peace soon.

Hang in their sister.

Bina said...

Oh girl, I wish I knew how to help. I've been looking my whole life for some way to be happy. There are time I'm so happy I can't stand it, but they are few and far between. I'm happiest when I'm with my litle girl and we are having fun, or after I just mowed the grass, or planted something, or the house is spic and span clean. Other thatn that, I feel like I'm lost and wondering around, just trying to not have a melt down!