Day 25: Ok now, let’s bring in the joy

My Halloween pumpkin

The wonder of writing publicly like this is that you get feedback that you wouldn’t get if it were just going into a diary under lock and key. I have been writing privately since I was eleven and sometimes I forget that people are reading this. It’s a little weird and cool at the same time. The feedback I got this weekend was important. It was so strong that it made me go back and read my post again the next day.

I have been really hard on myself. Dissapointment is one thing, but where do I get these expectations in the first place. How can I expect to wake up one morning and be a superwoman – one who keeps a perfectly clean house, dines on gourmet meals at 5pm, has a perfectly satisfied well adjusted child, grows her own food and livestock, all while looking absolutely fashionable and perfect at all times.  I swear, the way we women criticize ourselves, that is what we must be expecting to see when we look in the mirror. If you actually do see this, please let me know so we can meet up for coffee.

What if I set that goal aside for a moment, and instead create a new goal. Sure, I really want to weigh what I did before I got pregnant, but that will come eventually. What the new goal should be is finding as much joy each day as I can dig up. This shouldn’t mean a super long to do list to feel satisfied by as I check things off. It also shouldn’t mean lying on the couch drinking wine and ignoring my duties. What if I proceeded about my day on a routine, but with lower expectations for accomplishments, replaced by higher expectations for joy?

Let me give some examples. One you will guess because of the photo. Instead of forging ahead on carving three pumpkins – one for me, one for melody because she can’t yet safely wield the knife and was totally grossed out by the innards, and a third for Tom, because he doesn’t have time to do it himself – I carved two. I let Melody draw the face on hers and I did my best not to upgrade it too much, as I carved on her lines. Then I got Tom to play with Melody while I went to town on mine. I used her desire for a dollhouse pumpkin that she could fit her witch in as my inspiration. Dinner can wait until Mommy finishes her masterpiece dear. Daddy will carve his, or maybe not. I don’t care.

Now, for a more simple example and more to the point. I have three beautiful chickens that live on our hillside. It was a lovely morning and they needed to get out of their coop and run around. Instead of letting them out and then running back into the house to get three more things done before I had to pick Melody up from school, I just stood there and stared at them. They were so happy. When they find worms in the ground, they make this cute little sqeaky chirp. They were nibbling on grass and scratching around following each other on a morning stroll. It made me smile.

I once started a composition notebook attempting to list 1000 things that make me happy. It was back in 1996-ish and I doubt I made it to 1000. I plan to dig that up in November and review it. I will be sure to add walking with chickens to the list. I will also be sure to take some pictures and list some of the items in this blog. Stay tuned.

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