my own happiness project

a couple of weeks ago i discovered the happiness project on a shelf in my local library. i gave it a go. i haven’t completed it. in fact, i’ve only just finished with March and started April last night. i’m learning a great deal from, author, Gretchen Rubin’s one year Happiness Project. of course, to begin my very own project, i would need to complete the book. but that shouldn’t be difficult as i’m learning the steps i need to take in order to get my life, and the lives of my kids, back on track. and into happy “mode”.

my twelve steps (one for each month):

1. feel pretty. so often, i don’t feel very beautiful. i might skip a hair washing because i’m too tired, or i don’t even attempt at putting on a little bit of makeup, or i look down at my toes and wish i had $16 for a pedicure. solution: make myself pretty. take long, hot showers. remember to put lotion on my legs. paint my toe nails. buy a pretty outfit once in a blue moon. do whatever it takes to give myself an extra boost of confidence and put a smile on my face.

2. educate myself. you’ve all heard it before: i want to go back to school. and every semester seems to be the same. it starts off with a kick, then i become unmotivated or some life crisis intervenes and i’m forced to drop a class. i feel as though time is wasting away and i’ll never have that chance. there is so much out there that i want to learn. and i realize, now, it isn’t just the sit-at-a-desk and listen-to-the-professor-lecture type education that i’m seeking. solution: buy a family membership to the local YMCA. learn about credit counseling. take field trips to the Science Center and art museums (there are so many that i’ve yet to visit here in L.A.). find someone to teach me how to play chess. join a reading club. participate in more Bible studies.

3. love God. this one should be easy. but, really, it isn’t. not always, anyway. i mean, i do love God and Jesus. i need to focus on living a more Christian life. i need to find ways to apply the rules and laws of the Bible into my life. solution: since being at the family shelter i have become closer to God. i feel as though my faith has been tested, but i’m learning that it is not God that who is testing me. it’s my desires. i want a relationship with God. i want to feel his presence. my biggest goal is to read the entire Bible. i’ve read many chapters, but not nearly all of them. (i just finished Matthew and Luke. i’m currently re-reading Genesis.) i want to attend church regularly (and i do for the most part. but for the times i don’t, i feel guilty. i want to rid that feeling.) talk to God more often, not just in times of need. remember to thank God for all that he gives me on a daily basis.

4. gain financial stability. i admit, money is a motivation to me. after all, with money i can purchase my highly coveted yarn. i can put my mind at ease when my bills are paid. but the fact is, i’m sick of living month to month and living beyond our means. it’s time to get serious about saving. remember that book, Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees? my grandmother bought me a copy many years ago (probably when it was first published). i can’t say that i remember much, other than i should be saving my pennies rather than spending them. solution: sit down and be honest about my budget. attend money management classes. open a savings account and give the debit card to someone i trust. learn self control when i have cash. save money if i want to purchase something expensive, instead of spending at every whim and reaping the consequences for a month.

5. volunteer. it’s time to commit some time to someone else. i want to give back to the community. it’s good for the mind, it’s good for the body, it’s good for the soul. solution: continue volunteering for Youth Ministry events at church. volunteer once a week at a local library, being a STAR reader and work on arts & crafts projects with children. volunteer once a week at a local animal shelter, working as a dog walker and kennel assistant.

6. be healthy. i admit, i liked working out at the gym. i loved that feeling of accomplishment when i rode a bike for 7 miles in the morning or i finished 100 ab crunches. and i admit, i didn’t like my hair being all sweaty after a work out or the way my thighs hurt for days if i took on too much. solution: meet with podiatrist and find a great pair of walking shoes. (dealing with shin splints and sore feet isn’t going to help.) keep myself hydrated with water. (as good as that one soda might be after a month of non-sugary drinks, it’s too tempting.) return to the gym. meet with dietician about food choices and dietary needs. don’t eat after 8 p.m. remember to rest when i need it.

7. stop stressin’. easier said than done, right? but let’s face it. when i stress out, my medications become ineffective. my mood goes out of whack. my anxiety returns with a vengeance. solution: meet with psychiatrist every two weeks. meet with therapist once a week. learn positive coping skills. remember to react positively before acting negatively.

8. have passions. the past two years my knitting accomplishments have dwindled into very few projects. i buy yarn, i sell it. i buy a pattern, i don’t even print it. the things is: i ♥ to knit. it is one of my passions. i’ve been on Ravelry for a number of years. my favorites list continues to grow, though my project page is nil. so it’s time to act upon the motivation. solution: knit for others. (like my friend’s sister in law who is going through chemo.) knit for Scout. (i had knit a few items when she was a baby, but not much of anything as she’s gotten older. it’s time to cast on for those “want to make” projects.) knit for charity. knit for myself. and knit because i want to.

9. homeschool. Scout has made a big decision, for such a little girl. she has great interests in social interaction, but not so much when it comes to academics. she loves to learn, but she had a hard time sitting in a classroom of 25 students with no one on one attention. and there is so much she wants to learn that her teacher doesn’t touch upon. it’s frustrating to see her working at advanced levels but at a snails pace due to a full classroom and overworked Kindergarten teacher. solution: work on Scout’s interests. practice handwriting daily. make math a fun subject. teach Scout American Sign Language. work together on art projects. take field trips. make a daily schedule. utilize the library. and of course, have fun teaching other and learning from each other.

10. make a home. this is probably the easiest and hardest in my happiness project. we are temporarily staying in a family shelter. it’s been difficult to say that least. there is a lot of conflict between families and living on someone else’s schedule. there’s a lot of waking up early, arguments between children, and pickiness when it comes to dinner time. solution: we really need somewhere to call our own. find an apartment or transitional living home program that can fit our needs while we try to grow, in mind and body, and save, financially. in the meantime, love where we are and where we are going.

11. work like you mean it. i need income. solution: get to work on my Etsy shop. dedicate my time to doing something worthy for others that will bring me joy and a little bit of money.

12. be me! i think it’s so easy to forget who you are when you are dealing with life. sometimes i forget myself. i try being someone else. but i need to learn that i love who i am. i need to be happy with who i am, where i’ve come from, and what i’ve seen. these are the things that have molded me into the mother, friend, daughter, and lady that i am. i am constantly striving to be happy, to be better. i know that some of life’s curveballs make me feel as though i don’t know who i am or what i want for my life. solution: discover myself. embrace myself. learn about who i am. figure out who i want to be.