Finding Happiness Now

I haven’t been able to sleep very well recently. I think that a combination of being on a short-term prescription, slacking on working out, and eating a higher than normal level of sugar due to Valentine’s Day is taking its toll. I find myself snoozing on the sofa after C is in bed and then wide awake at 4:15. Instead of tossing and turning I’ve been dragging myself to the kitchen for a cup of Earl Grey in my favorite mug.

Sometimes in these early mornings I imagine that I’m in a different house, perhaps smaller, with a barn and some goats. My husband and I dream about our cabin in the woods and the life we will have there. I’m excited to downsize and live a little farther out from people. For now I nurse my backyard garden and can small batches of jam. In the fall when a family friend blesses us with bushels of apples I can applesauce and dehydrate apple rings to my heart’s content. When we’re feeling stuck in this place we play Schrodenger’s lottery. This is a ridiculous mental escape and we both know it, but every time the stakes are high we buy a ticket and stick it on the fridge. The morning after the drawing we go about our routine pretending that we’re rich (because, who knows, we might be. Or not.). And you know what I’ve noticed? I always come to the kitchen and sit with my Earl Grey. Maybe my life is closer to what I desire than I thought.

So the question here is: what is keeping us from happiness now? Maybe we’re not as skinny as we’d like to be, or our gadgets are out of date. But why wait for happiness? Who knows when you’ll be skinnier, richer, have a faster car, better salary, nicer hair? I’ll admit – I fell prey to the “bigger is better” phenomenon. After C was born and we thought we’d have more children I wanted a larger home. Three bedrooms was a must! And now we have that three bedroom house, and it’s lovely, and I’m so glad we live in our quiet neighborhood, but my husband and I can’t wait to build a small cabin. The draw of a quiet life is greater for us than keeping up with our friends. They can have their giant houses and huge mortgages. I’ll be happy with my tea.

So, my challenge to you, and to myself, is this: find gratitude today in something small. Perhaps it’s the way your favorite lamp lights the room at night when you’re reading, or how your dog warms your bed up before you climb in. I love both of these things and realized today that I love them in our too-big three bedroom home just the same way I’ll love them in a small cabin tucked away in the woods.