Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Happiness Project

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, aided by an oh-so-short 2 week break from school. Of course, you know me, there was some thinking about children in there, but mostly I was thinking about happiness.

On the children front, I still vacillate between thinking I will adopt when I have graduated, and thinking that I will remain child-free. I was recently, uh, pursued (in a nice way) by a guy who appeared very interested in dating. The problem was that his personality rubs me the wrong way, and I just don't see myself wanting to spend all that much time in his company. However, of course, my ovaries piped up, and there I was thinking "well, I'm 41, so if I really want to prove that I might have some fertility left in there, maybe I should just date the guy for a while and see..." But, thankfully, sanity reasserted itself, and I decided that I didn't want to have some callow sperm-stealing relationship on a whim to prove multiple RE's wrong. I decided that it was more important to me to date the right person, or parent the right child (however that child comes to me), than to go for some desperate attempt to conceive. I've tried enough desperate attempts at conceiving, thank you very much.

So, it was an eye-opener to me that I was able to back away, and rest easy in the knowledge that the longing for a genetic child really is ebbing away. And I am feeling more comfortable with both the idea of adopting and remaining child-free. I don't know what I will do, but I can see happiness in my future with either.

Neatly (or not) segueing into the happiness project...

One of my wishes for myself when I decided to give up the infertility treatment lark was to make a life for myself that involved me being happy. But of course I had spent so long imagining a life with children that I couldn't picture what happiness involved if it didn't include children. I have therefore needed to really think about what would actually make me happy. So I routinely now (when I have time) jumble up all my daydreams and imaginings and try to figure out how to get from here to there.

Damn, it's hard, though. Even when I think my happiness wishes are pretty basic. But they include things like "coming home to a clean house" which means I have to try to actually keep the house clean. And I have a slob streak a mile wide, I admit. Every time I think I'm getting better, I don't empty the dishwasher on schedule, and then the dirty dishes pile up waiting. And then it makes me grouchy. But do I go and empty the darn dishwasher? Not always, no, and it'll get overwhelming very quickly. But I am trying. I am trying to be better. I want to be the type of person that keeps a clean house all the time. I don't want to rely on a cleaning lady. I want to be the clean freak. I am hoping that by rephrasing cleaning as a way to increase my happiness, rather than as a chore, it will work better this time.

Do you have any housekeeping shortcuts or tips? Spill. I need 'em.

Do you have any happiness suggestions? Bring 'em on. This is going to be an ongoing project for the rest of my life, whether I have kids or not, so any and all suggestions are welcome.

Here's my happiness list:

Love - connect with friends and be better at it. Ditto family. Ditto partner in life.
Laughter - see above re relationships. Take time to laugh.
Place - I have moved around too much. I want to feel rooted in place, so, work to establish connections in the neighborhood, town, state.
Home - I like the idea of clean minimalism, of no clutter, of airy open spaces. Of loving my house instead of thinking "I hope nobody sees the dirty laundry lying around." Be clean. Keep clean. Love my home. Replace things I don't love with fewer, better things.
Travel - stop waiting for other people to be available to travel. Stop making excuses. Get out there and see places!
Body - strong, healthy, bendy. Exercise, do yoga, eat to nourish myself. Preferably be thin, but at least get to a healthy weight.
Mind - be the lady that frequents the library, keeps up with news, movies and theater, and has interesting conversations. Meditate.

Simple, right? Hahaha, it seems a bit overwhelming when I type it out. But it's not so so bad really. And I'm focusing on small things at a time. The focus this term at school is on cleaning house. Each semester so far I have cleaned in the break, and then let it fall into disaster the rest of the semester because I have no time. And then I end up in semi-squalor by the time finals come around. I have launched grandiose plans and schedules for cleaning, only to have them fail because they were too much to cope with. I have planned to get a cleaning lady, but put it off for so long that I talked myself out of it. But no. Not this time. This time I will figure out how to make it work, damn it. My happiness depends on it.


Peaches said...

Tip 1 to happiness - get a cleaning lady. I honestly could not live without one. It just makes my life a little bit easier. I have her come twice a month and it is worth every dime.

Stephanie said...

I really love this. And, I'll be checking back to see if any of your other friends have any genious "keep your house drop-by-visitor friendly" tips.

I am a clean freak. A lazy one who is usually unhappy with her house, too.

katedaphne said...

Ditto the cleaning lady. Get one. It isn't "relying" on her -- it is having some help to get from here to there. Mine doesn't do everything, but with her help I am much more able to keep up. She comes every other week. If that seems too much, try one a month to start. Then you can keep things tidy, knowing underneath it really is clean. You are worth it.

Calliope said...

I looooooove a clean house. Love. One of the silver lining things that I force myself to embrace right now is that by staying in this house all of the junk and clutter that would normally follow us around is packed away in storage. So we use two plates, two cups, two bowls. And there is no dishwasher.

I also live with anxiety that at any moment the owners of the house will pop by and need to use the toilet so I literally keep the place stop by ready.

I so look forward to when I can declutter properly and have empty spaces in my life/home that I don't feel the urge to fill.

And I'll be a dork- it makes me happy when I see a post from you because I miss you terribly!

Almamay said...

Great post. Glad to hear from you. I miss you

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