Remember when I moved into my house? Reluctantly? And then I decided to spend the better part of a year remodeling it? (read this again) Buy, remodel, sell, repeat! It seems I now have this new identity with friends who find it fun to say to me, ‘You must love doing that, you’re getting good at it!’ Truth is, I need and love a nest. I don’t recommend the uprooting. Not good for man nor dog! Today is January 22 and negotiations just completed so I have exactly 5 days to find a place to rent (during the next remodel) and move in! So I’m juggling! While I know things are always working out for me (and for you too), I’m needing to remind myself of some basics. I read something recently about what happy people don’t do. There were 3 that spoke to me.

1. They don’t jump to a conclusion about what someone’s intentions could be. Like when you get cut off in traffic and assuming that person hates your guts and wants to ruin your day. Or ascribing indignation when a text you get (or don’t get) seems insensitive! Or thinking the buyers of my house were trying to initiate a squeeze play and give me just a week to move! What would serve us better? Let that person (and yourself more importantly) off the hook! Assume the best or create a smidge of compassion! Or manufacture some positive story that would allow a solution to sneak through the crack of least resistance!

Here’s another one I’ve caught myself doing:

2. Happy people don’t always assume an apocalypse is occurring, jumping straight to the worse possible scenario. Seriously, this is embarrassing to admit this even unto myself because I know better! I meditate, I work out, eat well! Because of all the selling, buying, remodeling and moving, my brain has habituated itself to ‘here she goes again’ mode! So the first step is the awareness which is curative in itself. Then give yourself a pep talk. Out loud in my car works for me! For God’s sake, you’re not living in Syria (I hope)!

And the last one to truly abandon:

3. Happy people don’t compare themselves to others and feel sad, sorry or self-ridicule. Teddy Roosevelt said, ‘Comparison is the thief of happiness’. This one robs you of the belief that you’re here on this path for a reason. When I compare other people’s stuff or wealth, other people’s bodies, that they have a social life I presume is better, and on and on, there’s absolutely no place good I can get to. There’s only one good reason to compare and that’s to inspire and self-motivate! Do good and make yourself and the world a better place.

So here we are at the very beginning of a new year. In the midst of my juggling act, I remembered the movie Parenthood from a couple of decades ago. Steve Martin was tormented by his rambunctious kids and his mother-in-law, in his chaotic home while his calm, cool, collected wife was unaffected by it all. While sitting in a darkened auditorium at a school performance and feeling frustrated and distracted rather than soaking in the innocent darlings on stage, his mother-in-law leaned over and whispered in his ear, “I like roller coasters, I don’t like merry-go-rounds.” I get it! Maybe this busy beautiful life with all its bits and pieces is my new normal, just at the perfect moment when a new little baby born to my daughter on New Year’s Eve has entered my world. And his name is Louis Rocket!!

Thank you God for the reminders!!

Photo by Deborah Kolb