I started a happiness project a few months ago with gusto. I had all these superb ideas to implement in my everyday life. I daresay it was my happiness project that helped me do creative things with my kids and foster my relationship with each of them in the month of March.
Then May came along which for the past two years is the month I am alone without the husband for two weeks. I had every intention of focusing on my house in the month of the May and working on some projects while he is gone.
Too ambitious? Yes.
I was reminded once again while he is away I can only do the bare minimum: take care of the kids, spend time with the kids, do the cleaning that NEEDS to be done, and work on other projects if there is time leftover. I think I have said, “I’m so tired!” at least a half dozen times every day…sorry for those who might have gotten sick of me complaining about my fatigue.
So the month of May is going to end in five hours and I have very little if anything to show for my May Happiness Project.
So I thought of a couple options: 1) Do the month of May in the month of June and bump everything back 2) Skip the month of May and move right next into June. 3) Drop this all project in its entirety and do something totally different.
Then I remembered 12/12/12. I participated in a National Random Acts of Kindness Day. It honestly was one of the best days. I did 12 random acts of kindness in a day and my kids were involved in almost every single one. I cannot tell you how it helped to intentionally think of others and less about myself.
Now it is 170 days later. I spent a good part of the day today with someone I do not know very well, but greatly enjoyed conversing with. This person comes from a similar background as me and we have many things in common.
Also today I saw someone who is different than me and I am sure I have less in common with. I did not strike up a conversation with this person. I did not even try.
It made me think of a speaker I heard recently who started her talk by saying, “You look at me and you will immediately judge me.” Even though we claim we are not racist and do not have a prejudice bone in our body, our minds will go there. We always judge.
We will always gravitate to the people we are more comfortable with. We tell our children to befriend the odd one out or not to always sit by the same girl on the bus. But do we?
My friends and I were talking about if someone visits our church and is from our denominational background and especially if they are a young family, people will flock to them. We are hesitant (and myself included!) to talk to the person on the fringe, the homeless person, or the guy with purple hair. I hate that.
So what does this have to do with the happiness project? I thought instead of focusing on “bettering my life,” I want to focus on stepping outside of it.
My oldest does a “task of the month” where they spend a whole month working on one single task. Some of the tasks were tying shoes, learning their address and phone number, and now it is writing neatly on a single lined paper.
I thought about creating my own task of the month that centers on something “others-centered” and outside of myself. Honestly all the goals for each month for the Happiness Project was getting overwhelming. My “to-do list” was exploding.
Throughout this process I am going to read a section of the Bible each day in hopes to finish the Bible in a year program. Something else that fell to the wayside in the month of May.
I am going to try to
blog a little bit every day or every few days. Even if it is 2-3 sentences. I am already at 700 words and am totally exhausted. I cannot write these long drawn out posts every single day. As I have read more blogs, this seems to be the new blogging trend. As a news writer, I have learned “less is more.”
So in the month of June I want to have a conversation with someone every single day and do more listening than talking. I want to do less telling my own stories and more engaging in what is important to them. When I am given opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and talk to someone “different” I will seize it. I am hoping this experiment will help me appreciate the different backgrounds of the people I encounter in my everyday life.