Have you ever woken up grumpy for no reason?
Now, I’m not talking about “don’t speak to me until I’ve had my coffee” kind of grumpy. I’m talking about truly irritable and unhappy about the day before it even starts. Well, I have. I am ashamed to say that it has occurred more often than I would like to admit.
The last 12 months have brought a lot of big changes, new worries, and major stress to my family of five. Some days I just wake up worried and stressed as soon as I open my eyes. I wake up dreading the whole school routine, irritated that I will be alone caring for my three kids while my husband works a 13 hour day, and just plain tired.
I have caught myself immersed in a bubble of worry, stress, and mommy-exhaustion and sometimes I just can’t see the joy of the journey.
Some days, I wake up feeling like this dog looks. Grumpy, over it, and baring teeth before the day even starts.
It’s not that I’m not grateful for what I have. I am always grateful, but deep down I’m not always happy. Well, I am going to make a conscious effort to change that.
This year I turn 35. Wait, what?? How is that even possible?? It doesn’t seem real until I look in the mirror and notice the emergence of crow’s feet near my eyes or a random sprig of gray hair popping out of my head. This year I have started to realize more than ever how precious and fleeting this life is. I have seen people my own age deal with tragedy and loss in a way that I have never witnessed among my peers before. I have been reminded once again that life is short and precious, and that there are endless reasons to be happy in this life.
So now, I’m not just going to be grateful. I’m going to choose to be happy. I’m going to try to choose joy as often as possible.
Choosing joy isn’t about having it all. It’s not about ignoring the stress and worries in our lives. Choosing joy means not letting those stresses rob us of our happiness. Not letting the things that we don’t have be our focus. It’s realizing that we can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we react to them.
I recently came across a quote that I really love. It’s from Joyce Meyer, an inspiring Christian author. She said “Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it.” Funny, and soooo true!!
So here is my plan:
- When I start to complain about the hours and weekends my husband works, I am going to remind myself to be glad he has a job and a dependable income for our family.
- When I get irritated with all the messes and household chores, I am going to remember how happy I am that I have those three little rascals who make those messes to clean up.
- When I get bogged down with the daily routine, I am going to remind myself how blessed I am just to be an American who only has first world problems to deal with.
- When I worry about all that life throws my way, I’m going to allow myself a minute to freak out if need be. But then I’m going to push it aside and not let stress rob me of happiness.
I am going to choose joy because I deserve to be happy. Because my children deserve to have a happy mom. I am going to choose joy because life is better that way. And I hope you will too.