My Happiness Project
In the past year I have really struggled with my levels of happiness, I'm not sure whether I was depressed or if I had just fallen out of love with my life. I went through some very hard times and I reached the point where I wanted to walk away from everything, our new house, my marriage, absolutely everything - the only thing I didn't want to walk away from was my children. I had a pretty miserable six or seven months where I didn't want to go home, but I didn't know what the solution was either. Gradually I made peace with my life and I settled back into the routine of being a wife and mother, but I couldn't honestly say that I was happy. It was nobody's fault, nobody had done anything to make me feel this way, I think it was more that I was having some kind of mid-life crisis and I couldn't see a way forward.
I got married in my early 20s and I had had my first baby by the time I was 24. I know this isn't young compared to a lot of people, but it did mean that while the majority of my friends were still out clubbing, having fun and discovering who they were, I was at home changing nappies and cooking dinner. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't change it for the world, but last year something in me snapped and I realised that I wanted to make up for the years that I had 'missed' out on. I wanted to go clubbing, I wanted to go out with my friends and I just generally wanted to feel like I was having fun.
For a while it did feel like fun, but I realised almost too late that I was pushing away the most important person in my life, Mark. I was tired of being married to him, not because he had been a bad husband or because he had done anything bad to me, but because I didn't want to have to do absolutely everything with him. I wanted to go on a girls' holiday with my friends (this is something that is still on my Wanderlust List), I wanted to be able to go out with my friends without feeling guilty for not including Mark, but I also needed to balance that out by doing stuff with him too and not always stuff that included the kids. So we started looking at things we could do that would be fun for both of us, the best event of last year was attending V Festival. Neither of us had been before, but it did us both loads of good to spend a day getting drunk and dancing to our favourite bands and artists!
So we had started looking at ways to improve things, however I still didn't feel entirely happy but I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong and for the first time ever I ordered some 'self-help' books. First up I read The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying by Marie Kondo. Kondo has developed a formula for clearing the clutter in your house and how to stay on top of it. I must admit that I did struggle with certain aspects of the book, but on the whole I like her ideas and I'm going to try and put some of them into practice as we renovate each room of the house.
The second book I have started reading is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I'm still reading it, but I am absolutely loving it and her ways of improving her happiness have really inspired me. Rubin started her project in January and set herself a few achievable targets, then in February she added more targets, a few more in March and so on. I really like this idea as I have previously been guilty of setting myself insurmountable targets, failing to achieve them and then sulking about it and berating myself for being crap, so to do a few targets each month really appeals to me.
I'm going to attempt to follow Rubin's approach and in some instances I am going to copy her goals as they apply to me too, but others I will change slightly to fit better with my life. It's not about completely changing who I am, but it's about changing my thought processes and how I deal with certain situations. It's also about coping with things that often make me feel suffocated or drained. Having fibromyalgia means that often I don't sleep well and I wake up most mornings feeling completely shattered and in a lot of pain, so I feel sluggish before I've even got out of bed. The pain makes me feel like I'm climbing a mountain most days and after a day at work there's very little energy left in me to do anything more than cook dinner and lie on the sofa watching crappy tv. I hate feeling like that, I want to be having fun with the kids on the trampoline or playing football with them in the garden or running around the field while we walk the dog. So my biggest hope from this project is that I gain more energy to be able to have fun with the kids.
I have no idea if this project is going to work or not, but I'm hoping it will be fun to try and I hope that I might find the happiness that isn't quite there for me at the moment.