In the car today, I heard on NPR an article on happiness, and if it was possible to create or increase happiness. NPR spoke of the national quota of happiness. The Royal Government of Bhutan created this index to measure these key areas; psychological wellbeing, health, time use, education, culture, good governance, ecology, community vitality and living standards. And once you met your basic needs, could material abundance enhance your happiness quota?
My mind wandered over to the topic of grief and loss + happiness.
Can both co-exist gracefully? Or is it black/white, a flip flop, rollercoasting of emotions?
I ask myself this as April historically represents both joy and sadness for me.
In less than 2 weeks, will be my birthday. However for the past 5 years,I have found the days around my birthday to be melancholy.
The week of my birthday, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter (happy day) but 3 days later, I received the call that my mother had committed suicide (a dark dark day).
And each subsequent year, either my sister or I have flown home to be with our 85 year old father to bring comfort during a dark time for him.
For the past 2 years, I decided to stay put, and direct some of this loving back to me, as my emotional piggy bank was running on empty.
Yet, to be really honest, I haven’t been open to really celebrating the day I came into this world as I would like to. Last year, I had a heartfelt gathering at the home with a few friends. Kayman had a blast making “goody bags” filled with candy and party hats for our friends.
This year, Michael, (my husband) has been asking what I would like to do for my birthday, would I like to go away for the weekend, what can he get me?
In my head swirls the words, birthday, suicide, pregnancy, and this year more than before, the “C” word as we add the 25th anniversary of being a cancer survivor to the mix. Yikes, just writing that feels heavy.
And at the same time, Palm Spring getaway, romantic dinner out, massage… bubbles up to the surface as well. What will win?
So when I heard the segment today, I asked myself how I felt about this year, and if it is possible to increase my “happiness” rating in the next week or two. If so, what could I do?
Here are some things that I came up with:
-Find a new way to honor the death of my mom in a more celebratory way
-Increase my exercise to 5x a week to literally feel better physically
-Read something for fun, and not for work. Currently am working through the trilogy 50 Shades of Grey.
-Do one little thing from my list of things that makes me smile
And so begins my own little survey of grief vs. happiness for the next 2 weeks…I will continue to blog every few days and share the results. What has been your experience?