“The disturbers of happiness are our desires, our griefs, and our fears.”
Welcome to the second installment of my new weekly post, Make Me A List Monday. So, ever since last Monday, I’ve been writing lists, trying to come up with some hip, cool or clever ideas to write about. Yesterday, as I approached the 7th anniversary of my dad’s passing (which is actually today), I found myself in a somber and reflective mood. I listed the ways I think I’m like him. Then I listed my most cherished memories of him. Neither list was easy to write and felt too emotional to share, and I went to bed having no clue what today’s list would be about.
Then I woke up to the first day of April (my birthday month) and I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to find a way to be HAPPY- deeply, and with wild abandon. And I think Dad would be happy to know that, while I miss him and mark the day he left us, I’m honoring his memory by striving to crawl out of the deep hole March put me in to find a piece of honest to goodness happiness.
So today, I began my very own personal Happiness Project for the month of April. My goal is to focus on self care and personal nourishment (emotionally, physically, and spiritually). My goal is to leave behind the hassles of life, the heartache of my recent miscarriage, the heaviness of duty and obligation, the dullness of old issues and memories, and just be…HAPPY. The what if’s, the should have’s, and the regrets can go take a hike. My problems can take break. And my vast sadness can go jump off a bridge. This month, the month I lost my father, was born and got married in, is meant to be a happy one. And I will make it so.
Here is the list of things I intend to do to sit, dwell and wallow in happiness for the next 30 days:
1. Be French- this is already a daily goal for me and it’s my nickname for my version of mindfulness: living a full, brilliant and content life. I am going to surround myself with all things French, pull out my scarves and red lipstick, and be as impossibly French as I possibly can. I’m going to be enigmatic, elegant and blasé. I’m going to let go of my cares about how others attempt to define me, and be who I am. No excuses and no hesitations.
2. Goodbye to worries (for one month)- everyone’s life has complications and mine is no exception. There’s a lot to worry about, trust me. But I’m giving my worries a one-month vacation. They’ll be here when we reunite, I am sure of that. But for now, we’re breaking up and parting ways. Ba-bye!
3. Fill my free time with beauty- I’m going to go on a lot of Artist’s Dates (this is the idea that you take yourself out for weekly personal “dates” and do things that get the imagination and creativity going again). Museums, jazz nights, galleries, outdoor markets, etc. I’ve already got a few destinations on my list, and hope to post dispatches from my Artist’s Dates shortly.
4. April is henceforth declared Joie de Vivre month- life’s meant to be savored, enjoyed and experienced. Bring on the 2 hour coffee breaks, the days at the museum, the afternoon walks in the park and the play dates with friends. My goal is to take the time to enjoy each day fully; to slow down and really experience it as it comes; to be present and to love and to surround myself with people, things, places and activities that enhance the quality of my life, instead of constantly increasing its speed. We’ll see how my very American life will do with this very French idea!
5. Proactively take out any obstacles to achieving happiness- this means I’ve got to kiss procrastination goodbye and get my work done and out of the way, so I won’t have to stress about deadlines and last minute tasks. Oh, and by the way, if I could master this one I am keeping it for good.
6. Turn off the Judge- you know whom I’m talking about. You’ve all got one in your lives. The judge in that incessant nasty little voice inside that scrutinizes, accesses and inspects every little action, word and thought of ours and judges the hell out of us. Well, Judge Dread, pack your bags and take a holiday. I banish you from my life. We’ll revisit your status in May. Until then, ba-bye!
7. I’ve got a date with my dancing shoes- dancing is my salvation. It has always been so. But as life went on and problems grew larger and heavier, I’ve virtually stopped dancing. That won’t do!! Talk radio, take a break. I’m going dancing for a month! Madonna, Justin, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Usher, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Let’s do this!
8. Life is always teaching, if you’re ready to learn- life’s short. Nothing’s certain. Nothing’s guaranteed. Life teaches us this over and over and over. There’s no other time to live, love, make mistakes, be happy and find bliss. The time and place to find happiness is now.
9. Decisions, decisions- there are times when sadness cannot be avoided. I’m not one of those people who believes happiness is ALWAYS a viable option. But, for the majority of life’s ordinary moments, happiness is an absolutely viable choice. And, although my heart is heavy with the sadness of my recent loss and the uncertainty of the future, I am happy because I have decided to be so.
10. [Fill in the blank]- I cannot wait to see what I learn. Happiness, here I come!!
In loving memory of my father, Hassan Shirvani.