Thursday, November 13, 2014

I'm Choosing to be Happy Again

I'm not really sure if it's been apparent to anyone out there just reading my blog (unless you are adept enough to have gotten the hint here), but I've been very unhappy lately.  After an emotional meltdown last week, I really started to reflect on my life at the moment and the lack of happiness in it.  Let me explain.  I am a very calm, collected, logical, rational person and not that emotional.  (Think borderline Vulcan, but with a sense of humor.)  In my house, hubby is the emotional one and that works for us.  So when I came home after a particularly long and rough day and realized that I had allowed my car's registration to expire, I just lost it in one of those moments of "I just can't handle anything else in my life right now and I'm so unhappy all the time and I'm thinking every decision I've ever made in my life besides marrying you was the wrong decision, wah wah wah."  Phew, deep breath.  Luckily, my husband is wonderful and he most definitely was a good decision so his response went something like this, "Ummmm... I'm not really sure what's happening here because I'm supposed to be the emotional one and you're supposed to be the level-headed, logical one so I'm just going to say what Pam would say.  'It's going to be okay.  We'll get through this like we get through everything else - together.  You just had a rough day and tomorrow will be better.  Now pull yourself together, take a deep breath and let's figure out what we need to do to fix this problem.' "  And because I have a sense of humor, that just cracked me up and made everything better in that moment.  I love that man.

But I still couldn't shake that feeling that something in my life was just wrong.  So I really started thinking to myself about what was different and I quickly came to the conclusion that I have just chosen this school year to not be happy.  There have been a lot of changes in my school and my district this year and it's been more work for me and also some changes that I don't really like but I've chosen to be unhappy.  I've made the decision to complain, whine, mope, and be depressed.  This is so unlike me.  As far back as I can remember (my mother says my whole life) I have been a very happy person, even in hard times.  But this year I've really allowed myself to just wallow in self-pity and misery.  I'm deciding right now to end that.
November seems like a good month to be grateful so I'm taking some time to remember things that I'm grateful for and stopping the "no fair" party now.  Here are ten ways I plan to change my attitude and be grateful and happy about the life I'm living:

1. Instead of being depressed that I live so far away from my family, I'm going to choose to be happy that I have the ability to FaceTime with them every Saturday morning, now that I have an iPhone.  I've spent more time in the last three weeks talking to my parents and being able to see them than I usually get to spend with them when I am in town.

2. Instead of being upset that I don't get to live in Pennsylvania anymore, I'm going to be happy that I get to live with the man I love and that I get to spend every evening with him.  I might not get to see the fall leaves changing, but I have fond memories of falling in love with him in the backdrop of our home town and now I get to make even more memories that are basked in sunshine, clear skies, and palm trees.

3. Rather than dwell on how much money I could have been making with all my talents, I'm going to be happy that I'm putting them to good use.  I make a difference every day in the lives of my students and they want to come to school to learn with me and have fun.  Last week, the Superintendent of the district I work in even came to my classroom for a photo op with my students and me because he had heard so much about the amazing things I'm doing with iPads in my classroom.  After less than a year of being a 1:1 iPad classroom, that's something to be really proud of and happy about.  I don't think I would be making that much impact if I was just fixing computers all day.  (If you remember my earlier post about the Lucky Dress, I was actually offered a job that day working for the IT department in my district.  I ended up passing on it, after my parents convinced me that I wouldn't feel as fulfilled fixing computers as I do teaching.)

4. Rather than sitting on the couch all weekend, being lazy and miserable, I'm going to get out and do things that make me happy.  Shop with a friend, go out with hubby, whatever it takes.  We started last weekend by attending the football game of the high school he works at.  He has been blessed to be teaching at a beautiful new high school this year and it was great to finally get to see the school.  Even though it was freezing (for Florida), we had a blast cheering on his school (they won!), snuggling together to keep warm, and I even got to awkwardly meet some of his students.  It was so fun and didn't cost us a dime. 

5. When I have to work long hours, I'm going to be happy that I have the opportunity to tutor and earn more money so I can go home to see my family for the holidays.  When I have to work long hours on Wednesdays at our Professional Learning Community, I'm going to be happy that I work with such fun people that when we get together, we still have fun while we do our work.

6. When I'm at work at 6:30 in the morning, instead of sitting at my desk grading papers and hating life, I'm going to turn up the music and sing along to some of my favorite songs while I work.  Music makes life better.

7. I need to spend less time on the Internet and more time living my own life.  Seriously, if you spend too much time on the Internet, you will start to hate your life.  Or your body.  Or both.  Everyone else's life (and butt) seem more glamorous than yours on the Internet.  And spending too much time on Pinterest makes picking out clothes stressful.  It makes me feel like I have to be so "put together".  Sometimes I just want to wear clothes I like and call it a day instead of feeling like you have to have this, that or the other to have a complete closet.  Coveting material goods never makes me happy and just leaves me broke and with too much stuff.  It's easy to get jealous of others and forget all the amazing things that I've done in my life and that I am doing right now or will be doing in a few weeks.

8. Disconnect from technology more.  Especially now that I teach in a 1:1 iPad classroom, it's sort of easy to get addicted to technology.  When was the last time I read a book?  Probably August... so I plan on bringing at least one book with me to read on our getaway weekend.  Sometimes it's nice to just unplug and enjoy each other's company.

9. Find ways to share some happiness.  I know my coworkers are just as frustrated and unhappy about work this year as I am.  Our unhappiness has been contagious.  So maybe my happy will be contagious too?  I'd like to find some ways to spread a little joy to my teammates so maybe could bring a little sweet treat every now and then or even just bust out some happy music in the hallway in the morning.  The little things like that can make a big difference.

10. Stop obsessing over my braces.  I'm quickly approaching year four of braces and I've just really beaten myself up about it lately.  I'm just so tired of having them and explaining why I have them to both adults and kids.  Hopefully I'm in the last stages of them but I've been thinking that for three years.  I've just stopped asking how much longer but I am seeing progress at last, after more than two years of nothing changing.  I know in the end I'll be happy I did this, but it's just so easy to get disheartened.  I was looking back at pictures of myself before braces and I should be really happy about how much better my smile looks now than before I started this all, even if we're not done just yet.

So there you have it.  The thing is that I simply need to decide to be happy again.  I'll let you know how it goes.  Wish me luck.  :)

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