I came into this calendar year intending to stay in the joyful mindset of my youth. I craved my happy, optimistic self of days before the pandemic, days when my children were smaller, even those days when I lived a life before becoming a mom and wife.
Hopefulness used to hug me like my childhood blankie. I wanted that blankie back. I set forth in 2022 with a conviction that nothing or no one would commit a joy heist against me. My old rosy self would resurface.
This sureness in my daily jubilation has held strong thus far, into mid-March, yet has proven to be a bit of a herculean effort on my part.
The pull to pessimism tugs hard and tugs constantly. The world comes across as one big hole of misery, and I immaturely find myself wanting to keep my peace by blocking it all out so I can live in my happy bubble. To do this would require me to live alone, not with my husband and three children. As you can see, I’m setting myself up for failure.
I was under the impression that a happier version of myself could overflow glee into my family, show them happiness is doable, even with everything else going on in our lives and the world. They would soak in my joviality and be that way too.
The opposite seems to be occurring. Or maybe I’m noticing more how antagonistic and downhearted my family is. We’ve all gotten into this doom and gloom mood the last two years. I notice how I allow myself to feel what they feel, allowing their feelings to become mine, but the reverse isn’t happening. After all, I’m Mom; I should run this house and have a handle on how everyone is doing and have influence. Well, you know what? It is impossible.
Impossible to ask of anyone, anywhere at any time. How can I possibly control or influence four other people 24 hours a day? Why would I want to? I am a separate human being from my family members, and I only control myself. I can feel happy even if everyone else is miserable—no guilt in that. No shame. I’m allowed. This does not mean I don’t care; it means the opposite.