Every year for as long as Charlie and I have been married, I've written an annual Christmas letter which recaps the year's events. The letter always starts out the same way...
"Tis again the month of December and the time to remember ...
Our family and friends as this year (insert year here) ends."
I don't know why this rhyming tradition was started, but it's been something that we've kept up for the past 15 years. This year, there was one particular paragraph in that annual card that has sparked a lot of inquiry with our family and friends. The section read,
"In 2010 the triplets will be starting school and we anticipate a move in the spring ...
We are so excited about what's in store and what the New Year will bring."
People from everywhere have been calling and writing to ask where are we going? We talk about moving enough, now that it's been announced in PRINT it must be happening!
The truth is, we have no clue.
I wrote that particular verse after two glasses of wine. And when I wrote it, I was feeling much like a plant trapped in a pot 10 times too small. It seems I've achieved great success convincing myself that I've got root rot and if I don't get transplanted soon, the plant that is my life is going to wilt and die.
Let me repeat: we have absolutely no idea what we are doing.
We've been caught in a sea of uncertainty and yet we're trying to make things happen that just aren't happening. Do I work or do I quit? Does Charlie go for it with his business, or land a job with a big company? Do we want to live in the northeast, southeast or midwest? Do we want to homeschool the children or hand them a lunch box and kiss them goodbye? Do we want to sell, buy or rent? Do we want to stay or do we want to go?
We've got approximately three months to make our decision.
(Or enroll the kids in school.)
Up until very recently, I've felt like everyone around me really had their act together. Everyone, except for me, seemed positively content. But I'm looking a little more closely and it seems that even those that might seem perfect on the surface and spin a lovely tale of their lives, they too have got their private struggles.
Do you want to know what surprises the heck out of me?
Just how many people are on medication.
Depression. Anxiety. Hyperactivity. Insomnia.
People are suffering because they have too little time, too little money, too little energy, too little support, too little discipline, too little motivation, too little faith. Too little whatever it is that it takes to make them genuinely happy and content. Or perhaps they've got too much?
Responsibility. Expectation. Demands.
Please, make no mistake. I'm definitely not immune to the roller coaster that is life. More often than not, I've wondered if I should be medicated. Or rather, WHY I'M NOT.
But I can't help but wonder why is it that people are having such trouble? Why is there such stress and worry and often - despair? For so many of us, we live in such an amazing time and space, why is it that we aren't IMMUNE from feeling unsatisfied and restless? I have seen, firsthand these past 12 months, people that have been impacted by incurable diseases. I've seen people that are living in dire poverty and people that are living on the streets with absolutely no idea when or where their next meal will come from.
Why is it that most of those people who we would consider so unfortunate - are actually more content than people who are healthy and have a safe place to live?
Why do so many who have "it" take "it" for granted?
Although these things are always at the front of my mind, I can't stop dwelling on my own circumstances - as trite as they might be.
I worry endlessly that I'm not giving my children a good enough childhood. I worry that I'm a nagging wife. I worry that I don't take better care of myself and I'm not living as well as I should be. I worry about everyone growing older. I worry that we won't ever live closer to family. I worry that I might not ever live in a space with more elbow room so I can raise sheep and ponies and spin my own wool. I worry that I will never finish my series of knitting posts from last year. I worry that my dreams, whatever they are, won't be realized in this lifetime.
Add to that, I compare myself to what others have that I don't or what I perceive others to have. And gosh, don't I know that "comparison is the seed of all discontentment"?
As a general population, I believe we have put so many pressures on ourselves that it is exceedingly difficult to be content where we are. People buy big houses thinking that it will make them happier, only to discover that they are saddled with a larger mortgage payment and more space to clean. People might shop to fill a void and then suffer because they are deep in debt and/or clutter. People are dissatisfied with their careers or spouses and believe that if they change professions or relationships - then life will be better.
Sometimes, we search desperately for something that can't be found on the outside.
So more and more, I believe that we need SIMPLER times (and a lot more faith). We need times of walking around with a donkey and pots clanging on the sides. Because everything is amazing and yet nobody is happy.
Please watch this video clip (which I unfortunately, could not embed). Copy and paste it into your browser... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk
(You will seriously laugh your socks off.)
Tonight my husband said something profound. His words were, "Jen you are trying to give our children the childhood that you never had but always wanted. What you seem to forget is that our children don't know any better. They are perfectly happy - with you and me - so long as we are happy. So, let's just decide to be happy. It's OUR choice."
That's my ONLY goal for this year.
We have absolutely no idea what we are doing.
But we are going to Be Happy.
Because that is the CHOICE we have made.
In the meantime, commenters 6, 17 and 37 who are:
and The Lloyd Family
I hope that a simple box of chocolate cookies will enhance your happy state.
Please send your mailing address to TheAmazingTrips(at)gmail.com and I will drop your Candy Cane Joe-Joe's in the mail as soon as I possibly can. Just remember to share them with the people around you.
Because in doing so, you will undoubtedly increase the happiness level of those in your life.
And isn't that what it's all about?