Saturday, August 29, 2020

How's that Happy Working Out?

Life is busy, so you may not have noticed this ... but I haven't blogged all year. It's true. Now, I've been writing for clients. Promoting Look Up: Your Unexpected Guide to Good. Doing Zoom sessions for Creative Mornings. Staying relatively sane, all things considered. 

But I haven't been blogging. 

Why? Excellent question, my friend. I thought publication of the book might be a nice wrap on the blog. I posted Look Up tidbits on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I wondered, once the pandemic hit, if I had anything encouraging to say. 

Then, some lovely woman on Twitter noticed that I hadn't blogged since December 2019, posed a question, and dang. Here we go again! 

YES. What I wrote at the end of 2019 holds true in 2020. Little happy moments are waiting for us every day. Unfortunately, they're a helluva lot harder to find these days, given everything that's happening to us and around us. 

So, before I launch into happy moments mode, let's pause for a second and pay respect to the unhappy truth: 2020 has been a year of loss. For all of us. 

First and foremost, some of us have lost loved ones. If that's the loss you're mourning, I'm so deeply sorry. Death in the time of COVID can be an intensely lonely experience. Please know: You are not alone. 

Beyond that deepest loss, some of us have lost jobs,  income, and insurance in the past five months. Some of us have lost friends to the shifting schedules and priorities of the pandemic. Weddings have been postponed, vacations cancelled. We've lost freedom and hugs and kisses. Smiles from strangers. Coffee dates and long lunches. We've lost our sense of normalcy, and it's hard to know when/what will return. 

We're facing an avalanche of losses, big and small. 

And yet ... those little happy moments await. Your happy will be different than mine, but in the extra time at home, I've enjoyed: 
  • Trying new recipes, experimenting with the ingredients, and eating the delicious results
  • Playing with watercolors, with no expectations of producing anything "useful" or "beautiful"
  • Reading a lot -- I even joined a Zoom book club
  • Getting back to yoga (Can we all just say a loud, "Thank you, Lord!" for Zoom?)
You know what else I've enjoyed? Embracing my inner introvert. As antsy as I've been at times to go anywhere, see anyone, it's been nice to have a valid excuse to simply put on my comfy shorts, a big T-shirt, and stay home. 

If you're having trouble seeing the little happy moments waiting for you, try the anticipation/gratitude exercise:
  1. Anticipation
    When you wake up, think of three things you're looking forward to during the day. They don't have to be major -- you could be looking forward to your first cup of coffee, a hot shower, and watching "That Girl" reruns on TV. 

  2. Gratitude
    Before you go to sleep at night, think of three things you're grateful for. Again, it doesn't have to be life-changing. For example, I'm grateful I can end a sentence with a preposition, because I'm not in college anymore. I'm grateful you're still reading the blog, despite the gap in posting. I'm grateful Mary is celebrating her 27th birthday today, and is feeling so much better (she was one of the millions who've had COVID).

    I'll even throw in an extra gratitude moment, based on something that happened while I was writing this blog: I'm grateful Kate drives an Audi and wasn't hurt when some guy rear-ended her this morning.
Healthy daughters. Now there's a huge HAPPY no matter what else is happening in the world.  

Stay tuned
I have a few ideas for posts, and I'm delighted to be back with you and our blog! If there's anything special you'd like me to discuss, explain, rant about, whatever -- let me know


CJ Kennedy said...

Welcome back to the Ether!

Jan said...

Thank you, CJ! Did I ever send you a copy of the book? I can't remember ...

veredlh said...

Not the happiest year of our lives but thank you for the reminders that there is still happy hidden away.

Graciewilde said...

I hate to say it but I am on David Sedaris's program. Our shared goal is to get through this pandemic w/o touching Zoom. So far, so good. I am, by nature, an introvert but I often play an extrovert. Even the introvert in me is feeling the walls close in. My world is getting smaller and smaller as my contacts with family and friends seem to be evaporating.I realized it's partly b/c there isn't much new to say to each other. Our days seem to be rolling off a copy machine, one after another. I am ready for the copy machine to break.

I do find it interesting, however, that it is my on line world that is more exciting to me. I have met new faces on Twitter and connected over books, poetry, art, and, yes, politics on Twitter. I think it is more refreshing b/c the relationships are new. There is history about the other to learn and no one really has to deal with the messiness of real life. I look forward to future posts.

Harry Sokoloff said...

Great thoughts! (from an unbiased individual...your brother)

Jan said...

I completely get that, graciewilde! The Zoom thing is interesting. Back in March and April, I thought it was great. I was doing watching Zoom presentations, meeting with the family online, etc. By May, it started to feel stressful. I am now somewhere in the middle on it -- love it for yoga and watching/listening to some interesting programming. Almost always keep my camera off, because ... well, just because. The family stopped meeting online. And I'm more than ready to go back to presenting creativity/writing/book sessions in person, although the online approach has opened the doors to more -- and global -- participants, which has been very fun.

I love the copy machine concept. Totally right. I still find it really odd to wake up and think, "Where am I going today?" and then immediately realize: Nowhere. It's me and the hubs, home all day. As always, it seems.

The one online social media that I enjoy the most is Twitter. I love the Duchess Goldblatt community, and it's such a treat to "meet" people like you! It seems random, and it is in a way, but not completely. And, as you say, it's refreshing. I look forward to your posts too!

Jan said...

Harry! You're my favorite unbiased brother. :-)

Graciewilde said...

Yes! I have followed Duchess Goldblatt for several years. I am not clever enough to participate much in the conversations but they sure do brighten my day. I did pre-order her book, got it and read it in three days. LOVED it. JFF , here's my short review on Goodreads: