Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

photo by Barry Yanowitz
This morning as I lay in bed pondering the end of the world (don't laugh, it's coming in 2012...or at least some people think it is, which means we are another year closer to it) it occurred to me that this year my birthday will be on 1-11-11. For some reason the complete order of all those ones makes me happy.

My husband found that whole train of thought remarkably funny when I explained it to him. I don't know why, they were perfectly legitimate random thoughts and I'm sure that if I think long enough I'll figure out how I managed to get from one thought to the next in the space of one breath.

But the point of this post is neither the end of the world, whenever it may occur, or my birthday, which is virtually certain to occur at least once every year. No, I'm focusing on the little word 'happy'.

What makes up a happy year? Is it a year in which nothing goes wrong? Good luck with that! We had our share of woes this past year, mostly involving car repairs and hospital bills. Sometimes my children can bring their fair share of unhappiness along, whether they are shouting "You are the meanest mom ever!!!!" or simply struggling with things that I wish they didn't have to deal with.

For years I spent my New Year's Day wishing for a year in which everything went right. The sun would shine all the time, I'd become instantly popular, a novel would magically make its way from my brain to the keyboard, I'd be HAPPY. Resolutions were focused around things designed to make me happy. Lose weight. Be organized. Be the perfect Christian which by default is supposed to make me happy, right?

And every year by January 2nd, ok...by the evening of January 1st, I'd realize that I wasn't going to succeed in my goal of obtaining some whacked-out sense of unending bliss for the coming year.

So this year is different. This year instead of trying to grab happiness I'm going to look for the moments that make me happy. I'm looking for the small things, the things that are always there that bring that little internal sigh of delight. Like a birthday made up of all ones. A smile from my child. A crisp, buttery short-bread cookie. Cooking with friends and watching people delight in what we've prepared. I'm going to savor each moment like the juice of the sweetest fruit, letting it linger instead of gulping it and moving on. And I'm going to make a list, a 365 day long list of things that made me happy. Anyone want to join me in my happiness project?

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