Friday, February 3, 2017

52 Lists for Happiness

I have a wonderful group of Mom friends.  We met online when we were pregnant in 2011 and have remained very close since then.  Sometimes, we all get together and work on a project together.  Something a handful of us took on this year is "52 Lists for Happiness".

I am only a few weeks in but I have found that it is really helping with my self-reflection.  Some weeks are much harder for me than others but I like that I only have to write a word or two.  It's been interesting to share these lists with my friends and see how they are similar and different.  I can be verbose, so it is actually a challenge for me to write less and really think about the important words that need to be written down.

How do you journal? Have you used a list journal before?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Happy is the New Rich

It's been a year since I last wrote here.  And to say that it has been an easy year would be a lie.  I got through things that I never thought possible but also found so much strength in myself.  Beyond that, I felt much sheer happiness.

Happy is the New Rich.  I saw a framed print that said this the other day.  It was marked down to $3.50 and so I bought it.  I've never had a lot of money or material things.  But, this past year showed me that I am truly capable of handling myself and my finances.  I bought a car.  I took my family on vacation.  I went on dates where I paid.  I supported myself through a VERY low paying summer job.  So, money is great but happiness is more important.

About a year ago I was online dating.  Going on lots of first dates and meeting interesting people but not making too many real connections.  One day, it was actually Valentine's Day, I was just sitting around the house and I got a message.  It was someone who would have been outside of my search parameters (an inch shorter than I had searched) but he saw my photo and read my profile and felt compelled to send me a message.  He wrote to me in full sentences and with sincerity.  We quickly began emailing, then texting, then one 5 hour phone call and a first date later and that was it.  He's been a constant and someone I am daily grateful for ever since.  He's a friend and a partner and someone that I feel very secure with.  We fell in love hard and fast and intensely and have been living there ever since.  Adding to our happiness is that now my 4 year old has a 6 year old playmate in my boyfriend's daughter.  She loves her (and my boyfriend) and seeing them having fun makes my heart smile.

It's been a hard year.  My daughter has struggled a lot with anger and big feelings.  I have failed as a Mom many days.  But you keep trying.  Keep giving love and keep working on happiness as the ultimate goal.  Coparenting is harder than I thought it would be.  There has been lots of anger, miscommunication, and confusion on both sides.  There have been times when I felt much regret for the way my life turned out.  But, still happiness for all is the end goal.  I sure do hope we will get there.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happiness is a Journey (stream of consciousness)

There are so many trite sayings about happiness.  But, things are overquoted for a reason: they usually ring true.

So many things have happened since I last wrote.  My Dad moved in.  The holidays.  Our first apart wedding anniversary.  Meeting the new girlfriend.  My first solo vacation ever.  Many milestones met.  So much growth.  I am not even sure where to begin.




There was a time when I wasn't sure I would ever be happy again.  That I was destined to be sad about the loss of my marriage and sad about the turn my life took.  I was not in control of my life within my marriage.  I was constantly trying to manage someone else's emotions.  Mine were neglected almost entirely until I felt numb.  Getting out of that relationship has not been easy, of course, but it has been the best thing for myself.

When my Dad moved in, things were rough for a bit.  My daughter was confused and somewhat angry that her Dad wasn't living with us.  She wouldn't listen to her Grandpa and was downright mean.  Thankfully, we have turned a corner.  She makes a point to say good morning and goodnight to him.  She plays with him and listens when he disciplines her.  It has been such a great help to me to have him there.

I decided to coach another sport and am coaching JV Basketball.  It takes up a lot of my time but the relationships that I am forming with these 15 girls are truly priceless to me.  I really enjoy being a mentor of sorts and getting to teach them and see them improve at a sport that I was never completely sure I like (spoiler alert: I actually DO!) is really fun.  I never would have done this before.  I would have been concerned about how it would have impacted my husband and his needs.  I never would have taken a stand to do something that I really love.  I am so glad that I am able to do that now.

I met his girlfriend.  The one that he met while we were still married.  Not only did I meet her, but I encouraged him to show her that he wanted to be with her.  I have COMPLETELY let go of the hurt.  I refuse to hang onto anger when I know that we are so much better off apart.  So, if he can be happy with someone else and she can be OK with the relationship that he and I will have for the rest of our lives then there is no reason for that to not happen.  She was lovely. She was pretty and friendly and it was obvious that my daughter really liked her.  Why should I do anything to wreck that?  More happiness in our family, which is what we still are, is not a problem!

Dating.  I haven't done much of it.  I have talked to some people here and there, but nothing much to write home about.  One thing I know for sure is that I am still much too willing to look past any and all negative in a situation and I still very much see the good.  While I think this is great on some level that I have come out of a long relationship that ended in infidelity and apathy with hope for happiness, it also shows that I have a long way to go until I will be able to be in a truly mutual relationship.  One where not only am I doing my best, but I am doing my best for someone who deserves it.  I am worthy even when I am a work in progress.

Overall, I recognize every day how broken my marriage had become.  How much I had truly lost myself.  How grateful I am that even though it hurt, I was able to find my way out.  Grateful that regardless of how our marriage ended, that I still care deeply for my former husband.  That he and I will remain friends and parents to our girl.  That we can do things like go on outings the three of us and actually laugh and have fun and act like friends.  Grateful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tomorrow

Tomorrow will be the start of a very new chapter.  My Dad is moving here to live with me and help me with this transition.  We have lived 2000 miles away from one another for 5 years.  To say that I am excited is a little bit of an understatement.

My Dad is the type of Dad who would and does do anything for his daughters.  He worked a job that payed less but made him more available to us for much of my adolescence.  I don't ever remember him not being there if he said he would be.  He is steady and calm and honest and loving.  He is also fun and funny and adventurous.  When I told him that my ex and I were splitting, the very first thing that he said to me without any hesitation was "Do you want a live in cook and babysitter? I have nothing much going on here and could leave and come back to help you.".  I don't think that I will forget that for as long as I live.  Here I am, 30 years old, and my Dad is still willing to drop everything to make life a little easier for me.  That is the true definition of Father to me.

I can't wait for my daughter to get to know him better. Up until now, he has existed on a computer screen or in a week's long vacation.  Now, she will get to see him daily.  My ex has already talked to her about the things that he hopes my Dad will teach her (like how to play guitar, and basketball, and make gumbo).  I also know that he will be able to go along with whatever kind of relationship my ex and I decide to have.  Much of my strength and calm in this situation I learned from watching him.  He and my Mom split when I was 10, but remained friends and supportive.  At one point, my Dad not only worked for my step-father, but decided to buy a house with him so that they could all live together and help one another and keep our family together.  That is such a strong testament to the Man that he is and the reason that I want so badly for my ex and I to remain a family.  Even in the earlier days of my split from my ex, my Dad assured me that he would follow my lead however I needed him to.  However my ex and I chose to handle our relationship going forward, he would be fine with.

Beyond the fact that I get to see my Dad everyday, he has already made it clear that he will make himself available for me.  At night, when I start dating again or even just trying to meet new people, he is perfectly fine to stay home with my daughter and let me have some time to myself.  Since my ex and I have not figured out any kind of visitation schedule, this will be huge.  I haven't had much time to myself since I moved out and I am truly looking forward to it.  Beyond going out, I can stay in and hang with him! I won't have to face the occasional loneliness anymore.  He will be there to talk to.  My therapist has warned me not to let him take the place that my husband once filled emotionally, so I will be making sure I am mindful of that.

Wish us luck. No doubt it will be a big transition for all.  He hasn't had a three year old in his house since 2008.  It may take a little time to work out the kinks, but I am so grateful and so excited to have him here.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Letting Go

Today I am choosing to let go. To stop trying to hold on to feelings and things that are not meant to be held on to. I want to be able to move on with my life and be truly happy. In order to accomplish that, I have to let go.

Today, I somewhat gave my blessing for my ex to continue to see "the other woman". Because he is in love with her. Even though this hurts me, I know I need to just let it go. What is the point of trying to hold something that is no longer yours to hold? Don't I want to find love with someone better suited for me? Of course. So, I can choose to deal with the emotions and feelings that come with him being with her and continue to be strong for myself and our daughter.

Then, once I have truly let go of it all, I know I will find happiness. And while I hope I find someone to share my happiness with, I know that I can be just fine on my own.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Lonely

This week my ex told me that he hopes that I don't feel lonely.  And it got me thinking, is lonely really the worse thing to be?

I have been lonely before.  I am probably lonely sometimes now.  But, to me, I don't think that lonely is the worst thing I could be.  I would rather be lonely than be unappreciated.  I would rather wish I had someone to spend time with than have someone who doesn't want to spend time with me.  I would rather fill my time doing things I want to do than fill my time doing something to try to please someone else.  I would rather be alone and deal with someone else's drama.

Something great about loneliness and being alone is that it makes me really think about what I want and need in myself and someone else.  I do not want to feel lonely while I am with someone ever again.  It was the worst feeling in the world to be with the one that you love so deeply and still feel lonely.  I will never put myself in that situation again.  I don't want the person that I am with to ever feel that way again either.  I know that I did that to my ex.  Being lonely and alone is a thousand times better than being lonely and with someone.

There is also a big difference between missing a particular person in your life and being lonely.  I think that for me, it is that I miss my husband.  I miss the person that I spent 11 years of my life with.  I am lonely sometimes, but lonely for him.  For the life that I had.  Finding someone to make me temporarily not feel lonely will not fill this void for me.  It is something that I need to work on myself.  Something I need to work through to truly move on from and get over.  Then, when I am ready, I will find someone that will fill my loneliness truly.  But until then, being lonely is not the worst thing that I could be.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Strength

I realized something recently.  I am very strong.  I felt weak for SO LONG but I wasn't.  I was strong.

Loving someone who doesn't love you the same way is strength.  Treating people the way you want to be treated is strength.  Realizing your part in the direction your life is going is strength.  Choosing to move on and change is strength.  Holding your life together when you feel like falling apart is strength.

That's what people have been saying to me.  "I am in awe of your strength" or "You are stronger than me so you can handle this" or "You are handling yourself with such strength".  I am choosing to believe these people.  I know that I will make it through this time, the most difficult time in my life, on the other side.  I will be happy.  I will be OK.  And I will be myself throughout the whole thing.