While I can’t say that a certain book up and inspired me to scrap my entire blog and start over again with a fresh outlook, a clearer head, and a calmer spirit, I can say it helped to push me over the edge.
I am not being dramatic when I say that I am fairly certain December was out to kill me (between work stress, heavier family issues than I ever could wrap my brain around, and the typical holiday mayhem), and when that didn’t work, I was blessed with a “Happy Flu Year” starting at 7am on New Year’s Day.
Instead of taking on a “happiness project” in 2014, I decided to involve myself in more of an “anti-unhappiness” project, or doing my best to eradicate things in my life that make me unhappy. It’s one of those “so simple that it’s hard,” activities, especially because I willfully do things that make me unhappy on a regular basis. Procrastination is a good example of that. Or even letting small problems fester until they become out of control.
That being said, I decided to do the twee thing and take on a cliché “word” for the year like everyone else and their mothers are doing. Mine, made fairly obvious by the title and illustration of this post is present.
After some time away from blogging and social media in general, I realized that my productivity, happiness, and social awareness multiplies exponentially when I live in the moment. When I face tasks that are presented to me as they come, I am unstoppable. When I make a sincere effort to be engulfed in a conversation or situation instead of multitasking in my mind, human interaction becomes pleasurable, or productive. When I actually derive joy from day to day activities instead of plowing through like a madwoman waiting for something to break… I am at ease.
This year, I am eliminating the bad, and making being “present” at the top of my priority list. Some examples I can think of at the moment:
Presently – I am not trying to be blogger. Quite frankly, trying to “promote” my half assed posts was basically sucking all the fun out of writing itself. So instead of making blogging this stressful thing I “have” to do, I am going to take it with a grain of salt and get back to writing because I enjoy it. Buh-bye twitter. Buh-bye “link love.” These time sucking “outlets” are definitely gone thanks to my anti-unhappiness projects. I am so stoked to be writing on my own terms, and the time I save trying to “get ahead” is time I can spend in the present with the people I love.
Presently – I have a family who needs me to help them heal. We are going through some weird shit right now. I am confident it will all work out for the better, but until then, I need to “be there,” even if it means on the phone. I am so good at burying myself in my work and side projects and whatnot, that I forget that they exist, albeit hundreds of miles away. Sometimes I feel like I am not a part of their lives for a reason, but namely, that falls on my shoulders. Also, I have a beautiful little sister who asked me to be her maid of honor in her wedding. I need to be present to live up to my duties, because as kids we took care of each other, and that shouldn’t be something that ends with adulthood.
Presently – I HATE RUNNING OUTSIDE IN THE SNOW. This is actually a major problem that is easily solved, but I was just hoping I would acclimate and it would get better. For the first time in 10 years, I am an official YMCA member. This is a blow to my pride, because being “tough” has always been my thing. But being able to take care of my body without feeling like I am going to die an icy death is probably worth the 20-ish bucks a month.
Presently – My house is not as home-y as I would like. This is unfair to my fiancé and myself. By not letting myself be “bothered” by things like decorating for holidays or proudly displaying family photos, or even planning to have a nice sit down meal on the one day a week we don’t have to work 16 hours, I feel like I am missing out on something. So I am going to work on that, because I feel like living in the present means that your house isn’t just a place you store your shit and pass out.
Though these are just a few minor things on my “anti-unhappy” present list, it does feel really nice to write them out. It also feels good to get back to blogging about something, anything, and doing so without worrying about the “rules” of writing epic posts.
So whether it’s your first time here, last time here, or you’ve been reading for awhile and you’re just plain confused about what just happened, I am glad to have you. May your 2014 be full of present-day joys, and may you find your own ways to eliminate the unhappy from your life as well.