365 Journal – January 1 and 2

A friend introduced me to a Journal project that gives daily thought-provoking writing prompts and I thought it’d be a great way to add some words to this here blog. Following are the first 2 days of writing prompts:

1. What does “happiness” mean to you? Would you describe yourself as a naturally happy or an unhappy and worried person?

What does happiness mean to me? I’m deeply struggling with this question. Happiness can come in many brief forms and there are a lot of little things in my day to day that make me smile and/or laugh… but long lasting, true happiness? That is something totally different. That kind of happiness has to come from within and it isn’t related to outer circumstances.

It is hard to really define what happiness is when you are struggling with depression or an overall feeling of discontent for any sort of extended time. That is what I’ve been dealing with lately. I’m tired all of the time, I’m moody, I’m more overweight than I’ve ever been and less active to boot. I’m fairly certain it is directly related to my health in some way, though blood tests show that I have no major health concerns (a blessing that I should be ‘happy’ about, right?).

I see so many gifts in my life from my absolutely amazing and supportive fiance, my favorite fur child, my loving and supportive friends and family to our home in a safe, beautiful neighborhood; I love my life. These are all things that make me smile and bring light to my day..but underlying all of these gifts I’m still struggling to find that level of internal peace. Even now, I find myself beating myself up over the fact that I cannot define happiness.

I believe that in life we have to find balance inside ourselves. We hear stories of people who we feel are in desperate situations… struggling with things that we could not imagine dealing with. Yet, they somehow appear to still be happy. Even in the face of adversity, they are authentically smiling. That is the kind of happiness I want to achieve. Which brings me to the next prompt…

2. Create a list of resolutions you would like to keep over the next 365 days. Come up with 3 that mean the most to you and make a promise to yourself to keep each one.

I don’t really believe in making new years resolutions though I appreciate motivation of any sort. To me, every day could be Day 1 to start over. But I definitely have some things I’d like to focus on that I do think will help me reach that inner balance I feel I’m so desperately lacking.

A) Me. First and foremost, I promise to start taking an interest in myself again. Over the years I became less of a priority as everything else took the front burner which has ultimately resulted in my being way overweight, way out of shape and with extremely low self esteem. I’ve reached a point where I’ve just stopped trying to fix those things, but not anymore. I can recognize that I’ve put my health on the back burner for far too long and how it is effecting me mentally. I don’t want that anymore. I know that when I exercise, even if it is just a nightly walk that I mentally am stronger, feel more confident and utlimatily happier. I want my confidence back. I want to feel attractive. I want to believe I’m beautiful when my fiance tells me I am and I want him to be able to enjoy having a partner that feels that way.

B) RAK. I promise to try and start making more random acts of kindness come to fruition. Being kind and making someone smile or feel good is something that doesn’t have to cost a penny but the value of it is priceless to not only the person receiving the act but the person giving it.  Too often we get caught up in our own day to day lives and dramas, failing to even notice that someone around us may be in need of something as small as a friendly gesture. We push our way through stores, roll our eyes at people who are in our way, honk our horns at people who are driving the speed limit…all because we cannot see past our own issues. This year I want to slow down and be more present. Put my phone and facebook away and focus on the amazing lives of those around me. I want to do more people watching, experience nature more and just live in the moment.

C) Budget, Budget, Budget. Like everyone else, especially in today’s economy, money is a huge stressor. Money is such a superficial thing to allow control your happiness, but it is an unfortunate necessary evil of life. Our first year of owning a home we were fairly relaxed with our finances. Saving money wasn’t really a priority so long as we were paying the bills from month to month. When the end of the year came and property taxes popped up as well as renewing of HOI we were very ill prepared, especially around a commercialized holiday such as Christmas. As the end of last year drew to a close one of the things I knew that I wanted to implement in our home was a budget. This way we know where every penny of our money goes and when and where we have any extra. I’m in the process of lowering some of our bills and we’ve already made a couple of changes to our monthly expenses that I think will ultimately result in huge savings, so that there is a little bit of a cushion available, less stress and no surprises at the end of the year!

I really believe that 2014 is going to be a great year for me and mine. One thing that both my fiance and I have going for us is that we never want to stop growing or learning about ourselves. We have a tendency to always want to look for ways to improve. Whether we’ve acted on that tendency as of late or not, it is buried within us and it just needs a little nudging to come back to the surface and with each other’s love and support I know that we can do ANYTHING we put our minds and hearts into. We’ve got this.

Side note: I do hope that no one reads this and feels I am a very unhappy person inside. I’m definitely not! I know that it does not carry the usual ‘chipper’ tone that I try to write with. I am not at 100% but I do love my life, everyone and everything in it! Writing this entry has been extremely meditational for me and I feel 100x better having written it than before I started.