The Myths of Happiness

Last May, Psychology Today published an essay by Susanna Newsonen discussing why chasing happiness was a bad idea. Newsonen describes herself as a Happyologist, aka a happiness coach, which would send me running in the opposite direction except that she went on to talk about the three myths of happiness. They are:

  1. Happiness is the absence of negative emotions.
  2. Success fuels happiness.
  3. Happiness fuels success.

Okay, two and three are obvious non-starters, but I found the first one interesting because it seems to just make sense. Negative emotions make us unhappy, therefore getting rid of negative emotions would lead to . . .

Oh, wait

Newsonen says the key to happiness is not getting rid of negative emotions (good luck with that) but to manage negative emotions so they don’t overpower the positive. I can see that is important, but even more important to me is that we need the negative emotions because without them we can’t fully appreciate the positive. Negative emotions and the experiences that breed them give us a baseline to bounce from. I suppose there are people who go through life without tragedy and trouble, but I can’t imagine what those lives are like. More than that, I wouldn’t trade my tragedy and trouble for one of those peaceful lives. The Worst Summer of My Life had two upsides: None of the bad stuff happened to my kid AND I never again said, “Well, this is the worst day of my life.” I knew what the worst day of my life was: “You’re the single mother of an eight-year-old and you’re dying of colon cancer at 33; also you’re pregnant.” Every day after that day has been gravy.

So now it’s not hard to see every day as a gift, even when my house is falling down around my ears, the temps are dropping below freezing and my heater is out, and my heart is thinking about retiring. What makes me happy? Breathing. Knowing my kid is safe, and her kids and husband are, too. Seeing the sun come out (it’s gorgeous today). Watching the dogs run to go visit Carl who always has treats, aka great, kind neighbors. Working on a new story. Going to the diner for lunch and gossip. The shutdown ending. Pelosi winning. Getting a great dress that I’m probably going to live in for the rest of the winter from Amazon for $23.99. Frozen mini-Snickers in the freezer. Listening to Mona snore and chase rabbits in her sleep. E-mailing with Krissie. Talking to Argh people on the blog. Crossword puzzles. My new work bag that says, “My dentist said I need a crown. I said,’I know, right?'”

We need the negative emotions and experiences to remind us how great the positive ones are. There is no up without down. The key is to control the negative experiences and wallow in the positive ones. So this is me, wrapped up in an electric blanket with three dogs and my new laptop, snug in my new dress, full of diner Chicken Marsala and thinking about frozen Snickers, wallowing in happiness.

How did you wallow this week?

98 thoughts on “The Myths of Happiness

  1. I’m working a lot with the six-year-old on negative emotions. He will get in the car and melodramatically sigh “I had a bad day.” or “Today was terrible.” And I try to treat it in a very evenhanded “let’s talk about it” way. I’m trying to get him to understand it’s part of life. He is “Alexander and Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” personified.

    I read a little parable once that I liked and I can’t get it right exactly, but it was something like –
    If everyone in the world set down their troubles in one pile and we were all told “take one trouble off the pile to be yours to keep and then you can go”, most of us would leave with the trouble they set down in the first place.

    Everyone’s life has some trouble, I don’t care how rich, how beautiful, how famous you are. Those things can be trouble in themselves as we all know 😉

    I’m not religious, but I always liked the quote, “Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward.” Kind of sums it up. I looked it up. It’s from Job, of course. Poor Job. I do feel like he had earned the right to be a teeny bit angry about the whole thing.. And I certainly don’t believe that people should never be angry about life or try to change their life. It’s just we have to make our choices and do our thing knowing there is no perfect end state where everything is hunky dory all day every day. I suspect if a human being ever achieved that they would get bored very quickly. I don’t maybe if you’re a very good Buddhist, you’d be okay, but I’m not holding my breath for it to happen to me. 😉

    Okay, now after wallowing in my philosophizing (I love The Good Place, can you tell?) 😉 what did I wallow in this week? Having a new nice finished basement! We had stinky carpet down there and now it is nice new clean vinyl tile. Which means lots of playdates for tlhe six-year-old playing downstairs, me enjoying quiet upstairs. And having family time down there and not being disgusted by how gross it is. It’s the little things. Truly.

    19+
  2. Yesterday we went to a memorial for a woman who was my emergency back-up mom. She was one of those people who is criminally easy to underestimate – smallish and roundish and quiet spoken. But she was also the center point and touchstone for her family, a point of reference. We toasted her with clam chowder (the proper New England kind with cream and potatoes and bacon) because, as her daughter said, she was very much like chowder; fortifying, outwardly simple, and full of interesting bits. So many people will miss her.

    We are about to take out some kitchen cabinets to move the stove, and it is going to get messy, which is not necessarily happiness but changing things for the better is always a step.

    24+
    1. I’m so sorry for your loss.

      I love the phrase back up parent. We are back up parents to at least 9 kids so they are therefore our emergency back up children.

      22+
  3. I took a friend out for dinner for her birthday last night and as were eating, I asked about several friends of hers, none of whom I know well, but each of them has had what I would consider “the worst year ever”. As she was bringing me up-to-date, I realized that at this moment in time, my life is relatively trouble-free. Yes, I worry whether my 17 yo son will graduate HS (he’s already going back for another term next fall) and what he’ll do afterwards (playing video games on his parent’s sofa isn’t a long-term option). I worry about what I’ll do after retirement (no plans, but I could retire this spring). I worry about climate change and my personal carbon footprint (contemplating becoming a vegan after a recent report). But at that moment, listening to my friend, I realized that in the grand scheme of things, these were blips. I was in a lovely restaurant with one of my closest friends, after seeing an interesting play, enjoying a lovely meal and a delicious craft beer and life was good. I came home and watched the NHL All-Star game with DS, who was as chatty as a 17 yo boy ever gets and didn’t ask him whether he’d studied for his exam – I just enjoyed the time our time together. This a close as I get to wallowing in happiness and I’m going to enjoy it.

    27+
  4. My life is of the one step forward two steps back variety. So I’ve learned to accept the simple adjustments and deal with it. If for instance we’ve been watching drama at night, I’ll end the TV watching by tuning in a comedy before bed. This week it was the return of Schitt’s Creek and Eugene Levy’s band of crazy characters on the POP network. Maybe I’ll Google Catherine O’Hara just to see what she looks like under that god awful makeup. Also like the Kids are Alright about the parents of 8 boys and it takes place in the seventies when we were raising our children, I can so relate.

    This week after my husband had to chip the ice from the walkway to the driveway and the car so I could make my doctor’s appointment I decided to make all appointments in April from now on if possible.

    Oldest granddaughter stayed with us last night as her sister had her birthday party at home with about 12 of her best friends and some of them were sleeping over. Bonus points for me was her teaching me how to use my smart phone instead of me trying to figure it out.

    19+
  5. I think (hope) that I am on the other side of my wallowing. I have been in a funk for a week to two. But today I photographed a lot of things that were laying around forever to add to my Etsy shop, fed myself and got to work. All good.

    Oh, and I am progressing on the house-buying front. It’s old and falling apart, so I am probably an idiot seeing as I have no time now for all of my projects, but I am going to do it. Started talking to banks. My partner wants to put down man-made wood-like flooring instead of refinishing the hard wood. It’s actually much nicer looking than I expected and much more practical, waterproof, etc, but I have found that I will look at it forever more and be sad. So screw it. Let’s buy a sander. And some nice area rugs. The decision makes me happy. We will see once the work starts…

    20+
  6. Inside my family right now, we are dealing with a little girl and cystic fibrosis. It’s heart-rending and heart-breaking. Yet, with that trouble, that pain, there are great moments of happiness and heart-expanding happiness.

    There is one problem that becomes obvious as you get older. The more people you have close to you in your life, the more trouble you deal with – the more pain there is – the more negative moments. The temptation is always to close your world down.

    The paradox, of course, is that without those people, there would be much less happiness – much less worth living for. So take those “negative emotions” and celebrate their passing. That’s happiness!

    That’s love! I fully intend to wallow in that. Okay?

    21+
  7. This week certainly makes me feel like you need unhappiness to have happiness. I’m still glowing from the arrest of Roger Stone, Pelosi for the win, Trump for the loss, no wall for Trumps 2020 election, some of Trump’s base finally disapproving of him at least temporarily, and Republicans maybe growing a tiny bit of spine. Also DS heard from his first graduate school application. In one, 11 to go. Nice to have the first one be a yes.

    16+
  8. I feel this way about weather. I thrive in Summer. We get up to 40°C real feel and high humidity and I am fine. Cold gets to me. But I never complain about Winter anymore because it’s what makes Summer sweet.

    Link to the dress please, Jenny.

    Some pretty horrible things happen and I am so calm and chilled that’s it weird to others. I never cry. I don’t usually get angry. I just handle it and start thinking of what to do next to fix this. Case in point – rainy day car accident yesterday, a guy in a small pick-up drove into the rear of my car. I just handled it. Did all the right things, filed the accident report with the police. Gave the couple a hug after because. It was a rainy day oil slicked road kinda accident. No injuries too, so just carry on!

    9+
        1. It’s a little more fitted than a caftan, and it has a nice drape so it doesn’t look muu-muu-ish. And it’s light but warm. A good dress to live in.

          4+
      1. That dress looks so comfy. And it has POCKETS. I’m seriously considering getting one for the large Pagan convention I’m attending in two weeks. It looks comfy, vaguely witchy, and long enough to cover up the knee support I still wear, which makes skirts tricky.

        6+
        1. It’s really great, long enough to cover the calves (although I have fantastic calves) but doesn’t sweep the floor (I don’t sweep my floors, why should my dress?). You’d look great in it.

          7+
        1. I didn’t think it was too small, but I wouldn’t have gone smaller. If you want it really loose, go a size up maybe?

          1+
    1. 8 days after I bought my current car, a Honda Fit and the first brand new car I’d ever had, a lady bumped into me as we were sitting at a yield sign. I didn’t go as fast as she thought I was going to, or maybe she was arguing with the teen next to her and not paying attention, but bump. Not too hard, but damn it, EIGHT DAYS.

      So I stopped the car, we both got out and looked at the tiny ding in my bumper. I said, “Damn, the car is only eight days old!” She apologized. And I realized that I’d been fretting about the first time I scratched it or backed into something, and that she’d saved me from that worry. So I gave her a hug, thanked her, and got back in the car. She probably thought I was insane 🙂

      21+
      1. I feel ya. Somewhere I read about a guy that takes a handful of gravel and just flings it at the fuel tank of a new motorbike so he gets the ding out of the way and can stop being overly cautious. I wanted to do that with my car in March, when I got it. But I was dissuaded by nearest and dearest. Then I pranged it in July, so Huh. And now this. Sigh.

        3+
    2. Not a summer person, so I try not to complain about cold weather. Unless I am stupidly underdressed, then I complain about my stupidity, which is an ongoing lament, anyway!

      3+
      1. I almost always dress in appropriately for the first true cold day. And I lament at length, because I really struggle. I now keep a khaki denim jacket at work permanently.

        3+
  9. In this youth-oriented culture I’ve come to realize that by far I prefer people who have been seasoned by life. Inevitably, bad things happen in life. If I meet someone who is not bitter/whining/consumed by it, they become really interesting to me. If not only are they not bitter but have turned it into a positive thoughtful driving force in their lives, I’m really hooked!

    I’m thinking here about a guy at work who wanted to be a pilot. While still a boy, he injured and lost sight in his right eye. Older, he got into ultra light hang gliding and ultimately built his own glider! More recently, he built a movie theater in his home, makes wine–and yes, he hosts an Oscar parties. At work, where I’ve known him about three years, he is almost impossibly cheery most of the time, but I love him. (He’s happily married with grown kids and I’ve already told his wife I have a crush on him, so it’s all ok.)

    I guess without negative stuff, how would we get judgment and perspective and inspirational people?

    9+
  10. Yes, I think it’s all about perspective, which you get from time and experience. And hormonal changes. And looking up – at the sky, the trees, other people’s faces and lives. Knowing what’s enough. Taking time to breathe, pet the dog, and sing.
    Also, shoes are good.

    11+
  11. It’s been a pretty good week for me. Had a great one-on-one with my boss in which she said I’m not getting fired (or having to answer phones for awhile), I did two storytelling performances and it’s generally been a pretty good time.

    On a related note, I saw this article today on why gratitude lists don’t work:
    https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/a45386/gratitude-lists-dont-work/

    I really agreed with it because the thing about those is that it can work if you genuinely feel grateful about a thing (and would even without being assigned to write a gratitude journal), but if you are forcing yourself to feel gratitude when you don’t actually feel it, and life is being crap to you, then it is not beneficial.

    11+
  12. I am wallowing in sunshine, while I pull the weeds that have emerged from all the rain we’ve had over the last 6 weeks or so. The rain has also caused my California native plants to go crazy happy, so I’m not even minding the side effect of the weeds. And once I get the weeds out, I’m popping in some Clarkia and Five Spots (I didn’t get seeds done this fall – I was busy :-)) so that the front yard isn’t only a riot of California poppies in about a month. With a little luck the Clarkia and Five Spots will reseed like the poppies have, and next year I’ll have a riot of all three.

    15+
  13. This is a good week. Finally, FINALLY, I have finished sanding the door to the closet and it is now ready to refinish. Now if I can sand the baseboard in place and have my guy install the other pieces of molding he removed, I can finish that sucker and have my mini-studio.

    We decided to do a jigsaw puzzle so opened up a 1,000 piece job that our nephew gave us for Christmas. For the past four nights we have stayed up until 1 AM saying “I’m just going to put one more piece in”. I can’t believe we were so insane. But the pleasure of being retired is that it is not the end of the world if you have a week were you don’t get up until 8 AM.

    And I have been cooking: dutch baby, apple cake with caramel glaze, clam chowder made with live clams, pot roast, lemon risotto, grilled lamb chops with broccoli in cheddar sauce, baked apples. Ahh, winter. The time of year that justifies having put in an extra oven in my kitchen.

    12+
  14. After the rescue people made it clear that if I returned Kai, they planned to kill him, my husband and I decided to keep him. And once we made that hard decision two things happened:
    1) He calmed down and became much easier to deal with. He’s even better around other people, although, sadly, not other dogs.
    2) I started writing again, which I essentially haven’t done since Thanksgiving.

    I know we have a lot of work ahead of us, but for now I’m at peace with my decision. And that’s my version of happiness.

    34+
    1. Oh, I’m so happy. It can’t have been an easy decision, but I’m glad you’re at peace with it (and that it’s proving to be a good decision). I remember back when you first posted about it that I wasn’t sure I could handle such a difficult decision.

      10+
    2. In my opinion, dogs don’t have to like other dogs. This dog socialization thing is more about anthropormizing animals than anything else (again, in my opinion, but with four dogs under my belt).

      Liking people is much more important and better.

      Gentle leader, if a big dog (don’t remember), is essential to be able to control dog when out on street with other dogs. Bonus: gentle leader makes people think you have a well-trained dog when you don’t really.

      Good luck!

      8+
      1. I tried that at the pet store and he hated it, so I put it back and went with the harness with the front clip, which greatly improved his behavior on lead.

        On the other hand, he hates the muzzle, too, but he’ll have to wear one when we’re out in public.

        Thanks for giving me something to think about!

        7+
        1. my dogs didnt like it at first but i kept at it

          at some point they give up and get excited when they see it at end of leash b/c it means walk time!

          2+
    3. Oh, I was sad about your relinquishing Kai, but understood. Now! I wish you fortitude, a lean into your management skills and a happy future for all three of you. Even step by step.

      9+
  15. Have been generally happy this week. Other people have had life bumps that remind me to be thankful for my life, and practice being strong and positive on their behalf. Now if we just duck the 5 – 8 inches of snow we are supposed to get Monday, I promise to be extra thankful and happy!

    7+
  16. I’m supposed to be amazingly happy, but am in fact dealing with some reaction to having finally bought a house. Mostly sparked by the fact that only the back few feet of the garden (which is mostly taken up by the briezeblock shed) is getting any sun, and that only for a couple of hours at the moment. The front garden and downstairs front room are the same. After all my effort to find a light, sunny home, I’ve been defeated by the UK housing stock.

    So what’s making me happy is ideas for making the most of it – even ideas I can’t afford: it’s the designing that’s fun. Also, the delight of all my friends that I’ve finally got somewhere. I will catch up with them soon.

    18+
    1. Breathe, you bought a house in the UK, after a terrible struggle, you are allowed to curl up in bed and rock from side to side, weeping from sheer relief.

      Get on the waiting list for that allotment and start looking into window boxes and wall trellis and think about growing stuff on the roof of the shed.

      17+
          1. Oh, it does. The sun’s angle is low, so it’s not above the roofline of the surrounding houses for much of the day, but it’ll get higher as the year goes on. It’s just frustrating to get so little of the sun in winter.

            6+
    2. Persevere. You would only eventually lose the sunlight anyway.

      When we bought our house 30 years ago, the west/southwest facing slope was a desert covered with black berries and ivy. I planted two Mt. Fuji cherries on a lot that is 100 feet wide. They now have overlapping canopies plus I have a 90 year old star magnolia (@ 40 feet tall with matching canopy) and a 90 year old Port Orford cedar (about 65 to 70 feet tall). And my neighbors on either side have trees of the same vintage and size. I now have one rather small area where I can grow anything that requires sun to bloom. That is where I have a few roses. I have to grow any herbs and tomatoes on my second story balcony/deck where they fight for space with a patio table set and my barbecue.

      However, being limited in sunlight means that I had to stop buying every plant that caught my eye and actually buy things that would survive in shade and under the cedar in dry shade. Some of my best effects are in the dry shade area where I get no direct light and the water gets sucked up by the cedar.

      I think you are experiencing the buyers remorse. It gets better. It will particularly get better when your improvements start to leaf out and fill in. Anyone can have a nice garden on fertile soil just by scattering some seeds around. It takes a real gardener to produce something good in a difficult situation.

      13+
    3. Brace up: Sunlight gets better as the season goes forward. It’s January! Quickly comes February, March, April, May, June, July. We expect to see rose pics soon …

      7+
      1. You’re both right, and I will make a beautiful garden. Would be really good if I could get hold of a sunny allotment, though, for growing fruit and veg.

        12+
        1. Can you strategically place/angle some small (or large mirrors) to spread more light to the rest of the garden?

          2+
          1. I don’t think that would work when the sun’s ten feet off the ground; but it’s one of the things I’ll look at once I’ve seen how the light changes with the seasons.

            2+
      2. Definitely the seasons a few years ago I bought a glass topped end table. It showcased seashells that could be seen through the glass until the season changed and I kept chasing dust across it. Problem solved when I took a large dinner napkin and placed it diagonally over the glass just for when Sun brings all those flecks of annoying bits to distribute and ruin my day. I probably should find something a little fancier, but it is only for a month or two.

        3+
    4. Will you keep the breezeblock shed? Maybe a nice trellis and a garden office? Come summer things will look better. Get the seed catalogues out. Go on. You own a garden

      2+
    5. After our house purchase went through last year, I felt the same. Kind of let down and unsure and very aware of its negatives. And that one only took 2.5 months. I’m not surprised you’re reacting.

      Could some carefully placed mirrors in the garden increase the winter sunshine?

      6+
    6. I remember after we bought our first house, I went in and sat on the stairs and cried because I thought we’d made a mistake. I think there’s a time right after you buy when you realize that the house isn’t exactly what you wanted and you panic a little. Concentrate on the things you like and once you move in, things will look different. That’s the big takeaway for me after owning five houses: When you move in, everything looks different, and when you’ve lived there a couple of weeks, you’ll have discovered things you never thought of. It’ll be great.

      9+
      1. I think after any event that takes a lot of emotional energy – and buying a house takes a hell of a lot of emotional energy – there’s always a backlash when you just want to curl up and cry. It makes it worse when you’ve pegged a lot on being happy once you have the house/finish the book/complete the major task, and then you don’t feel happy, you just feel drained and lost.

        7+
      2. You’re all right, and I’m sure I’ll feel happy with the house once I’m settled in it. At the moment I’m working on getting things set up so I can move in later in February.

        6+
    7. Even my garden looks gloomy at the moment and it’s south-facing! Consider disposing of the breeze block construction altogether. Why do they always put them in the sunny spot? I just kept part of the wall and now it’s a sun trap 🙂

      My happy thing is I finally planted out all the winter bulbs that I should have done in November. Snow is coming this week so they’ll think they’ve had a normal winter.

      8+
  17. Recon native plant sale yesterday where I behaved myself and came away with a small collection of great plants.

    Read an author who’s disappointed recently, and her recent book is quieter, cohesive and with a lovely arc.

    In Balboa Park, sweet picnic lunch with two colleagues morphed-into-friends. Talked about trips, upcoming events and plotted a new plan toward publication of a second edition of plant writings morphed-into-history. Lotta morphing going on in that park. Retired to the Floral office where we unboxed and examined 1930-40-50 woodblock plant portraits for possible inclusion in the new edition. And gossiped merrily about all the long-time-gone plant folk involved. Good times.

    11+
  18. I have ban enjoying watching figure skating for the past few days. Both US Nationals and European Nationals have been going on simultaneously and thanks to a subscription to NBC Sports Gold, I have been able to watch most of both.

    The only mar to my happiness is that for the past several months I have been eagerly awaiting the upcoming release of Megan Whalen Turner’s The Return of the Thief in March and she just announced that it was being delayed until April 2020. She said that she doesn’t work well with deadlines and needed more time to fine tune the book. As a long time fan I understand but it is a disappointment.

    7+
  19. Happiness for me this week is no longer needing to take painkillers every three hours. The antibiotics are doing their job, the root canal is scheduled for tomorrow, and once it’s over I get to go to an outdoor screening of Bohemian Rhapsody with one of my best friends. It’s going to be grand.

    15+
  20. I miraculously got a room at the Doubletree hotel where the Pagan convention I’m going to in a couple of weeks is held. (This was the second and last lottery room release, and way more people want rooms than there are rooms.) I could have managed in one of the overflow hotels, but being on site means it is easier to lug books for signings, and go back to my room for naps when I am fried. SO HAPPY.

    Not so happy is the news that my brother in-law (my ex-husband’s brother, but he gets mad when I call him my ex brother in-law, and says, “You divorced my brother, not me”) who at 53 is five years younger than me, just got diagnosed with stage four metastatic colon cancer that has spread to his lungs and liver. He went into the hospital to get digestive issues checked out, and got this horrible surprise. He is my go-to computer guy and my friend, and I have already lost four people to cancer in the last year (not counting the two cats). I’m just not ready to lose another one.

    I’m just hoping that they discover it is one of the kinds of cancer that responds well to treatment and that he gets the miracle none of my other friends did. And feeling grateful that I’ve been going out of my way to spend time with him unrelated to him coming to fix my computers, long before we got this news.

    20+
      1. I haven’t talked to him directly about it yet (saving that convo for in person) but I’ve been told he has chosen not to have any treatment. So now I guess I just pray for time and his comfort.

        6+
    1. That’s really difficult news to receive. I hope he fights the good fight and comes out victorious. Medical miracles do happen – look at Jimmy Carter.

      8+
    2. Our years have been similar, so, yes, putting extra muscle into requesting a miracle for what sounds like a wonderful man. May he respond well to treatment and flourish. Hugs go out to you.

      5+
    3. I am so sorry to hear of this. I did not consider not getting treatment when I was diagnosed with stage 4 Ovarian cancer. It has not been easy, especially since (the doctor believes) that the chemo caused my intestinal issue. I spent a lot of the first of last year in the emergency room with severe spasms in my abdomen with blockage. They finally had to do major surgery (6 hours) and found twisted intestines and numerous hernias. However, since then I have done nothing but get better and there is some sunshine in my horizon. Will keep him and you in my thoughts. Whatever he decides he is so lucky to have you in his life.

      3+
      1. I will probably try to discuss with him the various options (based on my way too much experience with people who have cancer, including stage 4) without in any way trying to persuade him his choice is wrong.

        I’ll also remind him that doctors are just guessing, and they guess wrong all the time when it comes to outcomes and longevity.

        1+
  21. Husband spent every minute of last week with his nose down in the computer and I decided I wasn’t going to spend a lovely summer week staying home watching him do that. So I went for walks and watched movies with my best friend, cooked good food, made some headway in the garden, and went dancing. It would’ve been better if Husband had come along too, but it was still pretty darn good.

    10+
  22. I found out a few weeks ago that my kids’ music teacher has pancreatic cancer. I’ve decided to help…she needs rides to her chemo sessions…so I’ll bring along my copy editing or chapters or whatever else I am working on (maybe my crocheting? Haven’t touched that in months) and keep her company, even though her personality grates on my nerves. Her husband needs to work, her kids are in school…this is the least I can do.

    And when I compare my life to that, I have nothing to complain about and everything to be grateful for. She’s on the ship being eaten by the Kracken. I’m just on a pond in a dinghy, rowing along.

    14+
    1. Oh, good for you. Remember to buck up because grating will go on. Narcissist I drove to chemo and appointments complained because my car conveying her was not to her standard. Remain strong, stick to your plan. Plan and motivation both sound excellent.

      10+
      1. Thanks. I’ll turn on the music if I have to. Good thing she’s a music teacher. We can bond over Bach.

        2+
  23. Healing vibes to new cancer patients. Colon cancer took my spiritual son two years ago. Pancreatic cancer took two very good men three years ago. Bloody cancer.

    I’m just rowing along on the pond so far this year. Wallowed in the happiness of teaching my granddaughters to sew on Friday. We sewed little pillows and bedding for the pink bunk beds for their wellie wisher dolls. They were so excited to learn how to sew on the sewing machine. Very big deal for them. 7 yo told me I was the best Grammy ever and I got so many hugs and love and kisses, wallow, wallow, wallowed in the love.

    Went to the writers group, of which I had not been to since last January, paid the membership for this year, hoping to get to some meetings this year. A lovely young friend hadn’t been to many as well. Brain injury,2018 worst year ever, couple more said the same. We all hope this year is the good, the happy, the healthy year. We wallowed in re-connecting and sharing lunch together.

    7+
    1. What was it about 2018? It sucked for our family, too. My sister just kept saying, “Can we get this year OVER with?!?” And unfortunately, the bad juju from 2018 has followed her into 2019. She needs a break. Wish she was closer…she’s only an hour or so from Jenny, but 2500+ miles from me. 🙁

      1+
  24. Got a whole lot of tiling done, finished one review book, and got through the first round of research notes for a fanfic I’m playing with over the long weekend (Australia). And now I’m too tired and stiff to feel pleased with myself.

    7+
  25. Sending healing thoughts to those with illness, and those giving care.

    Focusing on what I can do, versus what I can’t control.

    Happy to have the driveway clear and hear the neighbor kids shrieking as they climb the snow mountains.

    6+
  26. I’m out the healthy end of a bronchitis-infested week, and I didn’t die. Again. In fact, that’s one of my top answers to retail people. “How are you?” “I didn’t die again this week.” My best answer goes like this:
    “How are you?”
    “Well, I was fabulous, earlier.”
    They can’t help but ask, “Oh? What happened?”
    “I got better.” (Big smile, and now two of us are a teensy bit happier.)

    Also, Bujold released “Knife Children” this week. I bought it, downloaded it to my Kindle, read it, loved it, recommend it Hope she’ll write another story. Any kind. Like Jenny, Lois inhabtits my “I’ll read anything she writes” list. Books. Blogs. Interviews. Shopping lists. Anything.

    Happiness doesn’t seem to be a conscious, continuous state, just something I slip in and out of. I’m there, now. 🙂

    7+
  27. I finally fixed my kitchen faucet. Well, mostly fixed it. And I used parts from previous faucet purchases. I now have a knob that turns off and on nicely and great water pressure. I don’t think it’s leaking either.

    I’m not wallowing in the weather but I’ll take the blowing, powdery, 8 inches or so of snow over the subzero temps heading my way. I’m already making plans to be home with the kids on Wed. Maybe we’ll bake!

    6+
    1. I love it when people say that talking about the weather is just making conversation. Not where we live. Talking about the weather is the way we make sure that we continue to live. Our bad stuff hits tomorrow and doesn’t end until Saturday or Sunday, so I’m not going ANYWHERE all week.

      7+
    1. I’ll be joining in! Gotta figure out my rules, but I’ll have a plan by Friday. I’m sort of thinking of taking a cat picture a day. I tend to take “candid” pix of them when they’re doing something particularly cute, but I never do an official portrait. I think I’d like to have a portrait of each one (I’ve got six, so it’ll take a good bit of time).

      2+
    2. I’m in, Lee. Liked your guidelines, and think I’m going to take a picture every day in my new, very small garden. Which is looking winter sad and gloomy, and is planted very conventionally. But there are bound to be details I can celebrate.

      1+
  28. A day late, but my happy is that I finished the second draft of the manuscript due on March 1, so I’m about a month behind my schedule, but I can do the final draft in three weeks, and I actually have that much time left (after an almost two-week simmering period while I forget what I wrote). And now I get to play with a new-and-shiny spec project I’ve been thinking about but not working on until I finished the contracted work.

    5+
  29. This past week I had the chance to see the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibit at the British Library with two friends and my husband. Absolutely incredible.

    At the exhibit, one friend chatted with a woman who turned out to be an author of 9th century adventure books named Octavia Randolph. That evening Octavia, her husband, and her audiobooks narrator ate at the same restaurant we did, and we all ended up at another friend’s flat chatting away into the wee hours.

    This wallow is going to last me for a long time.

    4+
        1. Jane B, is it possible to ask your library to acquire a copy of the exhibition catalog? It’s very well done and the illustrations are amazing. There’s more information in the catalog than was provided in the exhibit.

          1+
  30. I wallowed in outdoor work last weekend. After neglecting the yard since last May, it was an absolute tip. It’s better now. 🙂 The birds are happy, and I do believe the plants I want to keep are happier. The weeds I ripped up by the roots (and by the dozen) are not happier, but you can’t please everybody.

    1+
  31. I’m in the midst of a divorce after almost 22 years of marriage. Running down the necessary paperwork is less than fun, but I find that every day I feel more buoyant than the day before.

    I’m getting ready to sell the house, and my not-quite-ex has declared that he will not do anything to aid in the process even though he will reap half the proceeds. The bright side is that I, a bit of a control freak, don’t have to consult with him on things I’d rather not in the process. Also, I get to move the process more at my speed, and find myself (and the kids & cats) a new home. I love shopping for homes.

    And I had a root canal yesterday. Now I get to pay for that PLUS a crown. But my tooth won’t hurt any longer, and I still have double coverage for now. “I know, right?”, indeed!

    5+
    1. I woke up the day after my husband moved out and thought, “Why do I feel so light?” Then I remembered. YAY!
      Never felt the slightest temptation to marry again. Once was enough.
      Congratulations on all the freedom!

      6+
      1. Thank you! And yes, that’s exactly the feeling. The first question from my mom and my cousin (both divorced) was: Are you relieved? I am, and I take it as validation that I’m doing the right thing.

        3+

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