The house, which is pretty quiet on any given day, seems really empty now that my Christmas company has gone home. There’s nothing left of Christmas except a mess, the Visa bill, a depleted checking account, and a newly polished silver set, a gift of labor that I truly appreciated. I was also able to use the visiting muscle to move an old TV out of my living room. One less dust catcher! Yippee!
Most of the leftovers have found new refrigerators to fill. I like using up all the repurposed take out containers to send food home with the kids. This leaves plenty of room in my fridge for my new supply of wine and gourmet cheeses. Considering how much I struggle with buying the “right” Christmas gifts, my kids seem to excel in that area. After receiving cheese and crackers, a nice moscato, chocolates, lavender Epsom salts, and an Airbnb gift card, I’ve had a very nice Christmas.
A couple of years ago, my youngest son started buying my dog some Christmas treats. As I opened a bag of liver flavored nuggets, I struggled with the concept of eating them. My face must have reflected my dismay, because my son said, “Mom! They’re for the dog!”. This was funny enough, but I did the same thing the next two years! Why would he buy me turkey chews? This year, I’m proud to say that I actually knew which treats were for me and which were for the dog. If he ever buys me a bag of beef jerky, I’m going to be in trouble!
I seem to spend a lot of time between Christmas and New Year’s Day reflecting on my life choices. My old journals come out of hiding and boxes of pictures seem to dump themselves all over my dining room table. Someday, I say every year, I’m going to buy a scanner and make those pictures digital. I enjoy doing this remembrance tour of my life. It’s nudges loose little memories that make me smile.
Many years ago, as I read through my old journals, I realized that most of the entries were about disappointing events in my life, or sad moments. Writing is therapeutic for me, so I only write when I am troubled, or angry. I would mention the happy times but those writings weren’t nearly as detailed.
In January, 2013, I started my happiness project. Each night, before I go to bed, I write down one positive thought about my day, something that has made me laugh, or smile, something that makes me focus on my many blessings. After reviewing my thoughts from the last few years, why am I not surprised that most of my list involves food, or my dog? I’ve also noticed that new experiences are high on the list. I’m going to keep on taking those few steps beyond normal so that my life stays on the happy side.