People tell me I’m so busy. They say that I just “go, go, go.” My response is that we are all busy. Just ask someone who’s watching TV. If they don’t want to be interrupted, they will tell you to leave them alone; they are busy.
Rather, I am active. I am living my life, as alive and purposeful as I can remember to be.
Just read the newspaper or watch the news and remind yourself how short life really is. How many of us plan our last breaths? I want to wring my life out like a sponge and enjoy every possible moment.
In fact, I recently told a friend that I collect moments. My moments with him, specifically, were on my mind, because he is interesting and distracting enough to take my thoughts from the day. After the first conversation we had I felt as though I’d been on vacation for an evening. I’d been totally engaged. That’s a moment to collect.
Which brings me to my Happiness Project.
A little background is in order. I grew up feeling guilty about being happy. Being happy could bring about disaster … why, I don’t know. Laughing and/or having too much fun was practically a misdemeanor in my home. Being baggage that doesn’t make sense, I hauled that with me for years. Then as a high-achieving, career-minded, single mother, I poured my energy into making others happy, forgetting about myself in the process. Yes, part of the idea of making others happy is the contented glow I felt in knowing I’d done the right thing. (Notice I’m not calling this my Contentment Project.)
So, now I’ve decided to do exactly as I wish and pursue what makes me happy. Is not my pursuit of happiness my right? I’m going for it with all I’ve got.
What am I doing as part of my project?
- Reading as much as I can. I’ve finished seven books in less than three months, reading late in bed, carrying my books with me, hanging out at the book store and best of all, joining three local book groups. This leads to …
- Meeting more people who share my interests by joining local meet-up groups. So far I’ve met new people in the book groups as well as an urban exploration group that toured an old cemetery so fascinating that I’m going back to spend more time wandering. There’s a hiking group, French language group, movie fans group … I’m already blessed by new friends (still love my other friends, by the way).
- Renewed my art museum membership.
- Renewed my local botanic gardens membership.
- Went to the midnight movie opening of The Dark Night Rises. My son and I chose the marathon package, beginning at 6:30pm with Batman Begins, followed by The Dark Knight, followed by the midnight movie. We got home at 3:30am. I worked the next day, going in a little late, but completely exhilarated from the fun of it all. My only regret is that I didn’t at least wear a Batman T-shirt.
- I really smile at strangers.
- I make every effort to call each person by name – isn’t that why people wear nametags?
- I’m not waiting for people to call me. I’m not waiting for people to reach out to me first – no, I’m making the first move. That’s how I ended up listening to jazz in the local park earlier this week; I called a friend and he had the great idea. I said yes.
- My friend Leah taught me how to do the hustle. Yeah, that one – the line dance that everyone knew how to do but me. I’m getting better with the tricky parts.
- I remember that life is short and that next week, month, summer or year may never arrive. I’m finished with putting off what can be enjoyed today, especially when it means time with my son.
And so if I’m busy at all, I’m busy being happy as much as possible. More to the point, I’m actively pursuing happiness. Perhaps some would consider my project selfish. Let them. For me, the self I have to offer is happier, more relaxed, more appreciative. If that’s selfish, I’ll take it, but I will definitely share.
What makes you happy? What would you do as part of your Happiness Project?