Once upon a time, near the shortest, darkest day of the year, when I was feeling very, very sorry for myself, I plopped down at my desk, set a timer for 30 minutes, and started writing down everything I could think of that had given me even a moment’s happiness during the previous 11 1/2 months. And I felt much, much better. Before I’d even gotten to #10.
And then this year Dawn said, because Dawn is awesome this way, hey what if we had a big blog party and tried to flood the blogosphere with happiness and gratitude. And I said (and this is what I actually said), well hell yeah, I’m in.
So today (which, coincidentally, is the shortest day of the year here in Memphis), Dawn and I and some of Dawn’s blogging friends whom she corralled (because she is awesome that way) are putting happiness front and center, sharing it with the world and hoping you might join us (see instructions, at the end).
But even if you don’t join publicly, formally in a blog post, then maybe join us informally at your desk, on your lunch napkin. Whatever. Seriously, set your watch or iPhone for 10 minutes, and just start writing whatever pops into your mind that made you smile in the past year. If you get stuck, look through your calendar or social media feed. What videos made you laugh? What dinner did you enjoy? Did you wear your dress inside out to work? (I didn’t this year, but have before. More than once.)
Do this favor for yourself, if no one else. Try it; you’ll see. You’ll feel better, almost instantly.
And if the Grinch-y curmudgeon in you is thinking, I am just so tired of all this gratitude bullshit, well, I hear you. And I’ll be clear: I am grateful for many things, particularly in the past year; but my list isn’t a gratitude list. The list, for me, is about choosing happiness – making a conscious choice to select happy over disgruntled, to reframe my perspective and focus on the good.
And, as an aside: yes, I went back after the allotted time had ended and added words (because “Seth Myers/David Greene” would have made sense to no one but me) and links and pictures (and fixed at least one typo). Life’s better with pictures, and without typos. Though there’s probably still one lurking; there always is. Damn typos.
50 happy things: Jennifer’s 2015 edition
- Turning 50, in good health, with good friends and family
- Making it through the (often shitty) year
- Binge watching all six seasons of GLEE with my daughter
- My son’s last day of 7th grade
- Enough snow in February to need my Sorels
- And again in March
- Reconnecting with a handful of people who’d slipped away
- All 24 selections from Joe’s Winos wine club
- Bernard making all the frames for my blueprints (show in January 2016)
- All the Light We Cannot See
- Going to Knoxville for my daughter’s first cross country meet
- Watching my daughter start running
- Watching my son re-discover tennis
- Playing tennis only with friends, only for fun
- Sitting next to my sister, whom I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, at the birthday dinner party I threw for myself
- The creamy cucumber soup we had for dinner that night
- Bernard’s green chile hollandaise the next morning
- Being in Denver on 4-20, by accident, and realizing I’m old enough finally to say out loud that I’ve never been cool enough or laid back enough to actually enjoy marijuana
- Getting an entire week to myself while my kids were both away at camp
- My son’s samba-reggae percussion group
- The dogs lying together in a heap at my feet while I write
- Being invited to speak about writing
- Scheduling a show of my art work, for the first time in 21 years, and then actually following through with it (opens January 8, 2016)
- Figuring a few things out
- Camp Bratton Green
- Inside Out, and that Sadness was the heroine
- HONY’s Syria series
- The Bitter Southerner’s poker story
- Raising $250,000 for a new bloodmobile**
- My friend Winky’s book, which will be available in April 2016, just in time for Mother’s Day
- MacGyver and the Christmas tree (a private joke, sorry)
- My Meyer lemons
- St. Paul and the Broken Bones
- David Greene’s interview with Seth Meyers (I have the biggest crush on David Greene)
- Jenny Lawson‘s book and book tour
- Lemon bars with olive oil and sea salt
- Ellen Degeneres and Whitney Elementary School
- Reading all the hoopla about cookbook clubs and knowing I thought of it first, years ago, and actually did it
- Taking my son to meet the Dude Perfect guys (who were so, so cute in person)
- Angus Deaton’s Nobel Prize
- The secret to Connie Britton’s hair
- The Prize, by Dale Russakoff
- Finally figuring out how to tell our blood donors where their blood went, and receiving their heart-felt responses
- Oliver Sacks: My Periodic Table
- Finding out that flip flop socks are a thing
- Finding a kadota fig source
- Ta-Nehisi Coates
- The Mixed-Up Brothers of Bogota
- Misty Copeland
- Helping co-workers rescue the duckling family from our parking lot and relocating them (the ducklings, not the co-workers) to Rainbow Lake
- Family outing to the Bass Pro Shop opening weekend
- Getting a signed copy of Kid President’s book thanks to a long-lost friend
- Salted brown butter krispie treats from smittenkitchen.com
Ok, time’s up. Now it’s your turn.
Want to join us? Here are the rules, courtesy of Dawn (who is better at organizing things and writing rules than I am) (NOTE: I have absolutely no idea how this Inlinkz blue frog thing works, and I’ve probably screwed it up):
Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise.
** P.S. Today, on this fun day of sharing happiness, the new bloodmobile (see item #30) actually arrived – 2 weeks early! Merry Christmas!