Saturday, May 31, 2008

are you happy?

I don't know what's come over me the past few weeks ... but I've been treasuring each and every day while keeping at the very front of my mind just how fragile and short life really is.

Perhaps it's the knowledge that my little baby Henry will soon turn one, or perhaps it's watching the transformation of our triplets in to "real" people that when not whining, are becoming capable of having real conversations about real things.

Perhaps it's the realization that I've been in California for 17 years. I don't know if I've ever written about my move to California, but I was only suppose to be here for a semester and now, I've spent almost half of my life in this state.

Perhaps it was the terrible motorcycle accident that my younger cousin Joey was in three weeks ago today, that landed him in the intensive care unit - in a comatose state - kept alive by the miracle that is a respirator and a feeding tube.

Or perhaps it was my dear friend who was recently diagnosed with melanoma and their future is now punctuated with uncertainty. Or perhaps it was another dear friend, the mother of two young children, who at the tender age of 37, had to go in for major heart surgery on Tuesday. Or perhaps it was a work acquaintance that operated our local postal supply store who was diagnosed less than a year ago with cancer, and was laid to rest this past weekend.

Perhaps it is just me, growing older and wiser and realizing that you blink and 10 years have passed. And during that time, parents age, children are conceived - born and grow up, gray hairs and wrinkles appear and joints ache.

Everywhere around me are people that are so busy with their lives, their jobs, their families, the process of getting from point A to point B. And during that time, the sun rises and sets, seasons pass, real estate markets soar and crumble, fortunes are made ... and lost.

So the question is quite simple.

Are you genuinely happy in your life?

And if you're not, what do you need to do about it?


  1. I love this post.
    I think so many people are wrapped up in what they think is supposed to make them happy; rather than in what really will make them happy.
    We decided a few years ago, to cut the stress in our lives that could be cut out. The main thing for us, that we think a lot of parents do, is over scheduling children. Because until they drive, if children are over scheduled, parents are over scheduled. So we are very careful with that. Just yesterday I reminded my kids of my bizarre summer rule - "Mom does no picking up and dropping off on Fridays. Fridays are my day to do housework and catch up on things. On Fridays I stay home all day or run the errands I want to run." Now it is routine for them so they just said "ok." Some would think that's selfish but it's not always about the kids's schedules, which really add stress to a household, when they are on the go all the time.
    This post is also the very reason I do not work outside the home and am just now feeling comfortable with that choice. It is the best choice for OUR family; we can afford it, and it works for us. It reduces the stress in our household.
    Again, great post. And those photos of Henry made me very happy.

  2. This is such a wonderful post. The way that you shared your story of life with photos of the baby moving forward in each shot is truly inspired. What a lovely way to demonstrate so visually that in the midst of everything life throws at us, life keeps moving forward in a beatiful way. Great job.

  3. Brilliant!

  4. YES! I am very happy! I love my job! I wake up every day and say to myself, "Self, there's nothing else I'd rather do!" I love being a stay-at-home mom!
    ps- Henry is gorgeous!

  5. Geez. I least I thought I was.......until I read your post. I know it's been a very stressful month! get to run; in a race. Soon. Builds endorphins!

    By the way this morning around
    7 am I was feeling a little down and decided to go out for a little run. True story ~ I got a little sidetracked ~ okay lost; no cell phone w/me but knew the vacinity ~ sort of.

    By the time I returned home (2 hours later) I thought I walked/ran about 5 miles -- so I measured it in the car. It ended up I walked/ran almost 9 MILES! Really. 8.9 miles total. NOW I'm so sore I can't think or feel any other emotion!

    Next time I think I'll call you or one of my many other cuzzins to cheer me up as I head to Barnes and Noble or Dunkin Donuts! ;-)

    (Love the pictures Henry ~ great read) Love, Marg.

  6. Couldn't have said it better myself Jen....nice work.

    XOXO Anne Marie

  7. AMEN. And if you think about it, the years your children are with you are so short. The years they'll actually listen to you are even shorter. It really helps me to put things into perspective thinking about it. Teaching my children and being with them is so much more important than having a perfectly clean home, shopping for trendy clothes (though that is really nice sometimes), etc. Sometimes raising my children is really stressful, but it is one of the most important things I will ever do.

  8. Altho I am in my “twilight” years, I am genuinely happy, content, and know, by God’s design, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

    You post today reminds me of the old hymn

    “Life at best is very brief.
    Like the falling of a leaf”

    Your post today was very beautiful and thought provoking....and Henry was a perfect illustration of what you were saying!

    I think I am learning to “seize the day”, savor the moment, and in everything to be thankful.

    None of us have assurance that we have a tomorrow, so on each day we have, doesn’t it make sense to live it to the fullest, to rejoice in it, and be thankful in everything?

    You are blessed to have grasped this truth of how fleeting life is, while you are young. Enjoy every moment--I think you do, even when the kiddos are creating chaos!

    You are a gifted writer, my dear.

  9. I spent the first 28 years of my life being unhappy. Part of it was my not-so-pleasant upbringing. I didn't know how to be happy. I didn't know what that was. Finally I decided I was going to stop waiting for the next thing to come along and MAKE me happy. I was going take whatever happiness I could get my greedy little hands on. Ever since then I have been the perky woman that I am today :)

  10. Jen, I love this post.

    Just a few months ago I lost my fourth pregnancy (only one successful, Jon, 9 mos old) and since then I've been on this hyper-awareness of my life. Every sensation is amplified. The joy my son brings me, the comfort my husband brings me, the encouragement my friends bring me...all appreciated in the past is felt 100-fold now. The bad thing is that my pain over our repeated losses is also 100-fold. But if that's what I need to keep my blessings on the forefront of my mind, then I guess I'll take it. I never want to take for granted the amazing blessings I have in my life. I don't want my career or bills or schedules to rule how I look at or worse, overshadow those blessings.

    Am I happy? I'm not sure that's the term I want to use. Happy is something that is controlled by outside elements. Content is maybe a better word. In spite of the pain, I am content with what I have. I have a good life and I am so very, very thankful for it!

  11. Excellent post. It was definitely a thought provoking one. I truly believe happiness is a by-product of joy. And the source of my joy cannot be robbed from me as I am secure in it (has to do with my faith). But I need to be reminded as I very often do not allow the happiness to flow through. I let too many unimportant things get in the way.
    Thanks for the jolt. Life is short. I needed to hear this, especially today.

    P.S. - love the shots of little Henry


  12. This time last year I had a similar relevation about how important living your life and being happy is. We only get one life and it is so important not to waste it wishing things were better. Now I look at my life and think "yeah I did mess up a few things but I am happy to be where I am now." I am on the way to being happy but more importantly, I have done something about the fact that I was miserable.

    Your post is beautiful because it puts it into words so much better than I ever managed to!

  13. what a beautiful post. and the way the photos weaved their way through the words was just brilliant. so cleverly poignant.

    i really needed to read this right now. a heartfelt thank you. i know i will keep thinking about this for a long time after i read it.

  14. Thank you. You have know idea how much I needed this today.

    Triplet Mom in MN

  15. I would be happy if people would stop throwing up and tearing their flesh off their bodies with their nails, and I would just stop having a fever for like ONE DAY. :)

    I loved the pictures of Henry. He is such a delight. He makes me happy today.

  16. After reading this post---I want another baby!

  17. FABULOUS post!
    Funny that you wrote this today as I was thinking very similar thoughts this morning and trying to figure out how to word it for a post...
    now I don't have to, because here it is, written so beautifully!
    :) Debi

  18. Love this post. Isn't it true..the older we get the more we hopefully stop to treasure the moment and realize how short and fragile life is..I have been thinking these very thoughts lately as I see my children grow, and my parents age. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Great post. I like to always remind myslelf to always look forward not back. If we dwell on our past and mistakes we have made along the way we will never get ahead in our life.
    But yes, I am happy. Some days i will admit I'm not. But then I try to remind myself that I have a beautiful family, food in my stomach and a warm place to sleep and that is more that a lot of people.

  20. What a timely post. I've just spent the morning fighting with my lovely amazing wonderful husband because I want to go to law school, and all he is willing to do is force on me all the reasons why this won't work (the latest of which is that he wants to increase his contributions to his 401k, and thus, we really need my income, thus, I can't quit my job to go to law school).

    Anyway, life is precious. It ends in a heart beat, and I've been thinking about that fact a lot as I consider where I will be in 5 years. I just hope that my husband will hurry up and get on board with me!

  21. What a beautiful post. I have to say mostly yes I'm happy. After all I've survived cancer and a ruptured bowel. My husband has also survived cancer. It's gives your life a totally different perspective.

    Every once and a while that terrible this was not fair anger comes to the fore but most of the time life is wonderful.

  22. Although I do not know you... I do occasionally read your posts. The link to your page is on my cousins page.

    Anywhoo I just wanted to say that I love this post... I have for a few weeks been going through some kind of funk where I find myself feeling the same way... WHERE DOES TIME GO!!! Although I am truley happy with my life,I can't seem to get the thought out of my head that my kids are growing up. I am a mom of three 9, 5, and my little one just truned 3 today (HAPPY BIRTHDAY)... I found myself lying in bed last night crying about it. I am always busy w/ sports or school things. I agree with the preveious poster hw we have cut things down too so we can not only have time to do the needed stuff like clean cook and pay bills but I needed to spend more one on three time w/ the kids. I tried to be a work-at-home mom and it wasn't for me (god bless all who do lol) so as well as working full time and getting things done we are pretty busy... I watched a few videos of my kids the other day trying to find an empty tape for my daughter k play and found myself 3 hrs later bawling and still watching the videos... Im glad I took the time to do that... Well thanks for this post I'm glad to know I'm not the only mom out there who has days/weeks like this.... take care Melissa:)

  23. This is a great post! I love the pictures of Henry (I have a Henry, too!), and I know the near-panicky feeling you get when you realize the time is slipping away. The babies are growing up. That is one of the reasons I started my blog. I wanted to remember the little seemingly insignificant things about this life.

    I'm so glad YOU have been able to find happiness and can treasure every day, every moment.