Originally, there was another essay planned.  It was a little heavy and after another tough week in the news, I thought, ‘No, we need something light and inspiring.’  I usually have a couple ideas on the docket and something happens over the weekend, or at the beginning of the week that just speaks to me, or I hear a song and an entire essay is right in front of me. Truly, I think there’s someone up there putting the ideas in my head, a gift, the right words at the right time, I merely put the words on the screen…So, back to “What Makes YOU Happy?”

     Do you ever think about that?  I am not talking Joy, as that would be derived from your Faith and those you love.  THEY are what sustains you.  They are not fleeting and they are there for a lifetime.  

     What I am  talking about, is the frivolous, the sometimes, incidental, the stuff that’s just fun…The stuff, if you had to, could live without.  They don’t “complete you,” as Tom Cruise would say in Jerry McGuire, and they are not the first things you would drag out of a burning house.  They are the things and experiences that supplement or enrich the necessities.  Got it?

     Sometimes, it seems as if there is no time for these interests or hobbies.  When you are in school, busy building a career or starting/raising a family, you just don’t have time for these luxuries.  In early adulthood, I went from school, to a teaching career, to marriage, to starting a Family and teaching at the top of my game, to full time Mom, parenting educator, domestic engineer, fitness instructor, college prep organizer, tennis mom then homeschool teacher.  Time for anything else’s during those twenty nine years of kids under our umbrella was limited.  Usually it was a week away with the Hubby once a year.  Other than that, it was all about the kids and getting them to where they needed to be.  The fitness instructor, was really my “Out,” my creative outlet, my dance, my social and, my fitness too.  I loved it!!  I looked forward to selecting my music, catching up with the members at The Club (Ascension Genesys Health Club in Grand Blanc, Michigan) and I worked with some of the kindest, most creative and polished people I know.  We always worked together and we help one another when we needed time off.  I am not  complaining, that was just the way it is at that times in your life, that’s just the way it is.

     However, when the Little Guy, child #3, went off to school, all of a sudden, there was all this time available…What do I want to do?  We had raised the kids, they were well on their way, one married and the other on their way with a serious girlfriend, soon to be fiancé.  It took a while to figure it all out.  For years I  had just

kept going, and going, I couldn’t imagine what a time would look like with no kids to manage.  When it did finally arrive it seemed as if ‘The World Was My Oyster,’ so many choices.  “Do one thing at a time?  Not have as many balls up in the air as possible?  Dinner for 2?  How do you just grocery shop or cook for 2? I’m used to a house full of tennis players, preparing food to go, lots of groceries on hand for kids, impromptu get togethers…”. I was knitting up a storm, teaching more classes at The Club, I played tennis for a while, a little golf, I taught kids and adult classes in our home, helped take care of my Aunt.  It was all fun.  But it all got to be a little much.  I was getting exhausted from having too much fun.  Can you imagine that?!  I would wake up early in anticipation of what excitement the day was going to bring, getting all the home tasks done before I would take off on my Happy Adventure.

     What I ended up doing was focusing on a few of my FAVs with a little window for one additional activity at a time.  I looked at all of my interests and activities and  settled on those that brought me the most Happiness.  When I thought about it all, it was the cooking and writing that were at the top of the list.  I had enough time to focus on those two activities which ended up with a book and learning lots along the way.  By focusing on these two only, it gave me time to add in activities  when needed, time to babysit when my kids needed help with our grandchildren and time to be there for other Family and Friends when needed.  I realized that one needs to pick and choose.  As time went on, when the book was complete and the Kiddos/grand kiddos didn’t need me as much, I could add in other activities here and there.  I had to get better at managing my time as I had when the kids were at home.  What I hadn’t realized was that it was the beginning of a new era.  That era of the kids being gone and finding OUR groove as a couple and what made US happy.  We had Sasha into our second year of marriage so early on.  All our life had been raising kids.  I didn’t take the time to think about a life without them, so I hadn’t anticipated what I would do to fill the time.  I had all the important things, the Faith, the Family, the Chief Friends, it was the filler stuff that I needed to fine tune.  

     People sometime say to me, “You seem so Happy and Up all the time.  Why?” My response usually is, “It took me 60 years to get to this point, I should be good at it.”  What I mean by that is, you see so much in 60 years of life.  You go through the ‘trials and tribulation’ of life.  You have your share of tough stuff, you see your Family & Chief Friends go through the tough stuff.  You see tough stuff happen to great people…You loose people close to you and when you do, when you see someone slip away as you hold their hand, your life is NEVER the same.  You learn to value each moment, you learn that death is part of life, you learn to say what you need to say and value each time you get together with those you love.  You see good stuff and bad stuff and so when there are times to celebrate, you know what the dark valleys in life are and the celebrations are all that much more sweet to celebrate.  There’s a certain amount of wisdom that only comes from living life.  You don’t necessarily want to go back in time, you sometimes just wish it would slow down or stop.  You have seen friends NOT get to see a child graduate or get married or have the opportunity to hold their first grandchild.  You realize that life is precious and short.  You find happiness in the small things.  The date night out, the quiet dinner with a high school friend where you talked about things you hadn’t thought about in forty years.  You find the fun in talking to girlfriends about make-up, what to wear to the 40 Year Reunion and laugh about how  you were there when they met their husband on that first date.  You start making plans for future get togethers, because you now have the time.  Your smiles are brighter and the lines are there from years of laughing, worrying and living.  You realize that you are getting older, and that is ok with you, because you have a lot of living yet to do and you say to yourself, your family and your friends…

It’s a Great Day 🌼