|Hiking in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales|
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Things that make me happy
What makes me happy has been on my mind lately as I read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project about a year in the author's life in which she consciously takes on things that she hopes will make her happier. She spends January focusing on getting to sleep earlier, exercising more, and cleaning out her closets, all in the hopes that they will boost her energy (they do). In February she focuses on doing things to improve her relationship with her husband, including trying not to expect so much acknowledgment (it doesn't work). And so on. The book demonstrates an interesting way of approaching what I call not the search for happiness but rather fulfillment, that state of being in which you are feeling at the top of your game.
The topic has also had me thinking loads lately as we prepare to re-enter regular life after almost two and a half years of living on the fringe. It's important that we map it out carefully to make it as smooth as possible for us all. A few weeks back my friend Diane posed the question to several of us: What do we want to take back to regular life that we've gained while on this journey? For many who take on an adventure like ours, the trip is a conscious effort to get away from a life in which work reigns, family time is rare, and stress is too great, and so it's clear what they are wanting to last into their life on land after their respective journeys are over. It made me realize that I really loved my life before we left. Sure I had my own share of issues day-to-day, but I've worked really hard at creating a life in which I took care of my needs and I worked to my strengths. I would consciously work on anything that wasn't 'working for me' and improve it with single step actions.
If the truth be told, and while I loved this trip and wouldn't have missed it for the world, the last 9 months have been challenging. The problem was that I had focused so much on being in the moment and catering to everyone else's needs that I forgot about my own. Don't get me wrong. It's been incredible. But I have, in the midst of it, forgotten about so many of the things that I must have in my life in order to feel fulfilled and happy.
And so when we spent 3 of the last 5 days hiking in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, it was exhilarating to realize that hiking makes me so happy. I'll have to be sure to remember this as we settle back into life on land.
Other areas that will need to be worked to get back to that place of fulfillment: Alone time with Michael. Looking after myself with exercise, and taking alone time. Getting my career back on track. Do Yoga. Stop complaining. Go to sleep earlier. Avoid clutter.
Once home, even little steps toward these goals will surely make me happy. And I'm already happy about the plan.
Still on the road, now in Brisbane, will be back on the boat in Mooloolaba in a couple of days
And booked to be home with the kids on December 25
Michael to follow in January