I read Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” last year and I realized how far from happy I’d gotten. Happiness, it turns out, isn’t a destination – it’s a constant journey. As soon as you think you’re happy, you’re not – at least in my case. For me, it’s because I tend to get complacent with happiness. Once I achieve my goals, I’m satisfied. I can look back at my achievements and see how far I’ve come. But if I forget to set new goals that align with my idea of happiness – and they can be small or large, easy or challenging – I can quickly fall into a routine.
After I finished the book I saw she was coming out with a Page-A-Day calendar for 2017. Since I wasn’t (at the moment) overjoyed with where my life was, I ordered it, and it’s been sitting in my office supply box, staring me down for the past couple of months.
When we arrived home after visiting families last night, I opened the box and flipped to page one. Choose one word to serve as your overarching theme this year. I read it to Travis. “What would your word be?”
“Passion.” Sounds good to me. He’s been working very hard for, well, most of his adult life, climbing the ladder and doing everything right. Although successful in the traditional sense, he’s pretty far removed from spending time on his passions. Good idea. “What about you?”
“I don’t know.” It’s been 24 hours and I still don’t know what my one-word theme for 2017 should be. I considered “musical” because I’d like to get more serious about both practicing instruments new to me and growing my music teaching career. I considered “healthy” because I want to continue on the nutrition and movement journey I’m on – and get even more serious about taking care of my health. I considered “write” because I want to write so much more. I want to finish my book, write more in my blog, and write more actual letters to people. “Adventurous” because we plan to move and make a major life change? “Outside” because we’ll be spending more time in the great outdoors? “Positive” because I want to be more positive?
I can’t decide. Rubin calls this “analysis paralysis” and both Travis and I suffer from it fairly often. With too many options, it’s nearly impossible to decide.
Actually, in this moment, a word came to me:
This is probably the best one I’ve considered yet. I logged out of Facebook to quiet the noise. I deleted unnecessary apps on my phone for the same reason. I’m reading more books and less news. I’m avoiding marketing and advertising as much as possible (choosing public radio, not having television, not reading magazines, using an ad-block). I’m minimizing the noise, both figuratively and literally, in my life. By actively choosing to enjoy the quiet, I can focus on what matters to me.
This year, I will choose to be strong, healthy, and happy by choosing to quiet the noise that surrounds us.