One of the biggest changes I made in this journey was to do my best to not dwell on the negatives but focus on the positive things in my life. I have a house. It’s not perfect (nothing in life is) but it is mine (well, will be in three short years). My husband has a wonderful job. My kids are adults (age-wise, at least) and are out of the house. My dog is just dumb enough to make us laugh but not so dumb that we have to worry about him accidentally killing himself when we leave the house (He is an awesome dog. He doesn’t even eat the dog food that is sitting in a bag, right next to his bowl or chew up anything he isn’t supposed to).
I whittled down my friends list on Facebook to those I truly care about (and figured out how to block certain kinds of posts without unfriending too many people). I discovered that I do not need to internalize every single news story I read (and have become very choosy about which stories I will even attempt to verify or just toss them to the side). I have also discovered that my “normal” is not shared by everyone (and that is a wonderfully pleasant surprise). For instance, I did not realize that I wasn’t the only one who had never thought about whether aloe plants flower or not (or what the flowers would look like) until today:
Through the process of finding joy, I have been forced to distance myself from some people in real life, also. Misery loves company while despising solitude (at least this is the case with those I know). If these people are miserable, they see it as their duty to ensure that all those around them share in their misery. Heaven forbid anyone break away and refuse to participate. I had to build a moat around myself to keep these people as far away as possible. The negativity that exudes from them is like a black smoke that penetrates everything and made me feel the need to take a shower after each visit. Now, I have learned the joy of muting my phone and not answering my door.
While I am not a bundle of joy at all times (you really do not want to see me angry), I post my fair share of goofy animal videos and silly memes on Facebook. I make “evil monkey” moves at the mice who have insisted this is their house, not ours and I take great delight in giving my dog the middle finger just to watch him jump on me in excited glee. See? It’s the little things in life that can add up and finally, through trial and error, make each day end on a happy note.