Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happiness Update

I'm sorry that I haven't been around (although I don't think many read here anyway but it's still fun).  I always find winter tough and this year seemed to be especially so.  My mom was diagnosed with Parkinsons, which threw all up of for a loop, my parents-in-law sold their house and are moving in with my sister-in-law, which feels like the end of an important era for us (we had quite an attachment to their town), Pk was diagnosed with a learning disability, which, while actually good news (it proved that she is VERY bright but also legitimately struggling with some things that aren't due to poor parenting, which was the message the school gave us), led to some really struggles and, as always, our schedule kept me drained and overwhelmed.  I didn't use to like spring very much but, as the raising of my spirits can attest, I loathe winter and the longer daylight and warmer temperatures really do change my outlook on life.  I'll probably write longer about some of our challenges in another post but this one is going to be happy.

I am finding myself brimming with contentment these days and it often leads to my walking around with a stupid smile on my face (when the world isn't driving me crazy).  I thought I'd write a post about some of the things that are making me feel so happy these days.

1.  Being outside.  Having my dogs (more about that in a minute) means that I need to walk and most of the time, daily, more than once.  I often don't feel like going but once I do, I get such a sense of well-being and clear-headedness from being outside.  I walk at lunch at work, which is a lifesaver and I have taken to either listening to books on Audible or listening to some of my favourite podcasts.  The kids are getting old enough that they now often like to walk with me (and don't whine about being exhausted the entire time).  On Friday, we walked to a field literally five minutes from home and discovered a little waterfall in the creek in the forest.  I had to drag the kids away.  I know, we have started to overly idealize the "freedom childhood" but I really do think that being outside makes kids happier.

2.  Our pets.  We have two dogs, both brittany spaniels, Lucie and Harris and a cat, Sadie.  I can't tell you how much I love these guys.  I know the world is divided into pet people and no pet people and I most definitely fall into the first category.  They can be royal pains in the tush and cause all kinds of trouble and aren't especially well-mannered (having kids seems to have destroyed our ability to train a dog) but the joy they show when I come in the door, having a little body asleep on the floor beside me when I am working or having that presence in whichever room I am in changes my outlook on the day entirely.

3.  Our small town.  I know, small town life isn't for everyone and our proximity to the city means that we get to avoid some of the worst aspects of small down life but we love living here.  I love that we run into people we know everywhere we go, that there isn't pressure to be out doing something all of the time and that there is quiet around us.  I feel a sense of belonging here that I never felt growing up in a big city and I think my kids are really benefitting from that, at least at this stage.  This was Little Man walking to school with a big friend who he worships who he has known since he was born.  The kindness of the big and rough older boy to the little boy trying to keep up just about brought me to tears.

4.  My knitting.  Just before March Break, one of Pk's skating coaches approached me to ask me if she could pay me to knit a ponytail hat in worksocks colours for her.  I wasn't sure but after some research,  I found a pattern and got to work.  These are fun to knit and I have had so many requests for hats!  At the moment, I am making a set of 12 for Pk's synchro skating team for the fall.  They are easy, require little attention and look great.  That makes me happy!

5.  The thrift store.  I love second hand shopping, especially in stores that are clean and well laid out.  There is a wonderful thrift store in the town in which I work that is owned by a particular church group for whom I have tremendous respect and who do wonderful and responsible work globally.  My favourite treat is to go and browse and to buy some fun treasures.  Their books are especially cheap (3 for $5) and generally in wonderful condition.  I love this little treat that involves so little guilt!

6.  Getting out into my garden.  I have these very big dreams of a gorgeous garden and while they are rarely realized, I think that I am slowly and surely having some decent results.  I can't get over how an hour in the garden can change my entire outlook.  I have peas planted in my veggie bed already, I have started chives and dill from dried seed heads I found when weeding and tidying, I have morning glories and sunflowers started inside and many of my perennials have come back.  It's silly but it feels like a miracle to me each and every year.

7.  Podcasts.  I love podcasts and I have found some terrific ones of late.  I have always been a big fan of several shows from CBC (I especially like The Current) but I have stumbled across several that I really have begun to enjoy this year.  I ADORE What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel (Tuesday is the day the new episode is released and it's silly how excited I become), I have really enjoyed some of the world on The Liturgists and Ask Science Mike, which Mike McHargue and Michael Gungor, Sorta Awesome with Megan Tietz and friends, Serial with Sarah Koenig and a few others that I can't remember at the moment.  I almost never watch t.v. and listening to podcasts is entertaining to me but also lets me do the things I need to do like gardening, knitting and cleaning (which I seem to do so much of these days).

8.  Reading.  I have been on a huge book binge of late.  Anne Bogel has made my life complicated by sharing so many wonderful books and since I discovered, I have become addicted to ordering used books online.  It's so much fun to have books arrive and to find little treasures that someone else has left behind.  I am bleary-eyed too much of the time these days because I can't go to bed without a good session of reading!

So, that's a few of the things making me happy right now.  I hope that spring is infecting you with an appreciation of all that you have.  I'd love to hear what is making you happy at the moment.

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