This week I (like many of y’all) am celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday in my hometown. Family, fellowship, and food–the holy trinity of this particular celebration. An opportunity to appreciate all we have…then go out and buy more on Black Friday! And of course, the question asked around dinner tables every single year…
The pandemic made me extremely thankful for the many blessings in my life. I imagine others had a similar onslaught of overwhelming appreciation for life, health, and other things oft taken for granted. COVID really helped us put things in perspective, y’all.
But sometimes it’s hard to see the sugar for all the shit.
Lately I’ve been stressed, depressed, and just plain exhausted. Work life has tried me. Home life has tried me. My inner saboteur has been working overtime to convince me I’m a terrible human being who only deserves the worst in life.
How am I supposed to find the sugar in all that shit???
I’m thankful I have a job, even if it feels like work gets added but never gets taken away. I’m thankful for my family and friends, even if we don’t always see eye to eye. I’m thankful to see another season, even with the cold, dark, windy days. Every day I draw breath is a great day, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. Because each day gives me the opportunity to be thankful for the beautiful things–big and small.
Day 96: Dog-sitting makes me happy. My boyfriend planned an out of town trip, so he asked me to watch his dog while he was away. Luckily his dog and I have lots in common (specifically, a love of snacks and napping). I don’t think I’m ready for a dog of my own yet, but being a temporary dog mom has been fun. Check out a few photos of some of our adventures!
Enjoying a long walk!
Watching a rabbit. See it? (Look in the upper right corner of the picture!)
Day 97: Company picnics make me happy. My company goes all out when it comes to our annual picnic. Earlier this week I volunteered to help with pre-picnic stuff (more on that here) and the end result was spectacular! Here are some pics of (just one side!) of our celebration:
Day 98: Catching up with friends makes me happy. My friend Judith was in town this weekend, so we met up for brunch at one of my favorite restaurants. We met through a work opportunity and became fast friends! Even though she no longer lives in Madison, we make a point to keep in touch. It was awesome catching up with her in person!
Day 99: Free lunch makes me happy. Today was staff meeting day and the wrap (sweet chili tofu) was so good! It tasted even better because it was free. 🙂
Day 100: Taking classes makes me happy. This week, I get to take a class instead of teach a class! I absolutely love learning and am thrilled to be the one being taught this time around.
Also…today is my last entry for #100HappyDays. This was a fantastic exercise in gratitude! Taking a step back and finding something to celebrate in every day–no matter how small–helped me to put my life in perspective and realize I’ve been blessed with an amazing life. Honestly, some days it was hard for me to come up with something more than “Waking up this morning makes me happy.” Not every day will be filled with joy–that much is certain. But I found that the happy moments outweigh the unhappy ones overall, and that’s pretty good to me.
Day 94: Eating well makes me happy. I’ve mentioned it a few times on the blog but for those who may not know, I’m a vegetarian. (Fun fact: July 8 was my one year veggie-versary!) I originally became vegetarian in order to eat healthier and improve my lifestyle, but quickly fell into the habit of eating very unhealthy vegetarian foods. (Another fun fact: French fries and cheese pizza are in fact vegetarian, but they aren’t the best foods for you. #TheMoreYouKnow) I’ve also been working with a personal trainer, and he encouraged me to start a food diary to keep up with the number of calories and amount of protein I’m eating (peep this post for more on that). Now I know it’s possible to have a delicious, filling dinner for under 700 calories! (Final fun fact: This does not mean I’m never going to each french fries or cheese pizza again. A lady has to indulge every now and again.)
Day 95: Helping out my company makes me happy. I actually have *two* days in the office this week! And I chose to spend two hours of each one not working in my office. (That’s #assbackwards I know.) Our annual company picnic is on Saturday, and I’m helping out with advance registration. Volunteering for this internal opportunity made me happy in a few ways:
I get to spend time in a part of campus that I never go to.
I met three really cool coworkers that I probably wouldn’t have talked otherwise. (In a company of 9000+ people, it’s easy to work with folks you’ve never met.)
I got to brush off my retail customer service skills.
Day 90: Wedding receptions make me happy. My boyfriend invited me to the reception of one of his good friends. We had a great time! My boyfriend was so handsome in his suit and meeting his friends was really fun.
Day 91: Experiencing new music makes me happy. My boyfriend is really into the Grateful Dead, and a documentary about the group came out recently on Amazon Prime, so we watched it. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I never knew too much about the Dead–basically that it was “hippie” music and Jerry Garcia was involved–so I liked learning more about the group and the music they made.
Day 92: Coaching others makes me happy. I’m part of a group that helps trainers improve their adult education skills, and I had a 1:1 session with one of my colleagues today. We focused on determining if trainees “got it”–she really wanted to make sure that trainees were understanding the information she taught them. It was really fun to look at another class and find ways to make the information stick.
Day 93: Surprise packages make me happy. Imagine my surprise when I go to the mailbox and see a package from my friend Kathy! She sent me a favor from her baby shower and lots of other goodies as an early birthday present. She’s into fashion and makeup, so I’m excited to try the cosmetics she included in the box. Yay for great friends!
Day 80: Surviving makes me happy. This was my sixth day in a row of teaching customer class and my voice started going out. I was able to get through my class anyway though–sometimes you just have to be happy you made it through.
Day 81: Buying snacks makes me happy. For our upcoming family vacation (more on that below) I was in charge of buying the snacks. Who doesn’t like buying snacks?!? The hardest part was trying not to eat them before the trip (and remembering to load everything into the car). For the record, I did try to buy healthier snacks…but some s’more ingredients may or may not have made their way into the cart too.
Day 82: Fridays make me happy. Especially Fridays before a long weekend!
Days 83-87: Family vacations make me happy. My family and I camped near Mammoth Cave for the holiday and it was really fun! We had the most awesome RV in the park (and that’s not me bragging–people came by multiple times a day to compliment it). We hiked a trail near the cave, which was somewhat challenging in 90° weather with 1,000,000% humidity. But we made it–and rewarded ourselves with great food and lots of laughs. Check out the view from our campsite and my new friend Belle below!
Kentucky is so beautiful!
Victory (a.k.a. the baddest RV in the park).
Belle! She protected us by barking at everyone who walked past our campsite.
Days 88-89: Short work weeks make me happy. That’s the awesome thing about coming back to work on Thursday–you’re already basically at the weekend! Is it bad that I’m already counting down the hours until the weekend officially starts?
Days 40-41: New cars make me happy! It’s my great pleasure to introduce…Stella. She’s a 2017 Subaru Crosstrek and she’s ALL MINE. She’s stylish and, most importantly, good for these Wisconsin winters. Last winter I got stuck in a (pretty shallow) ditch and had to be towed out–I’m hoping Stella will get me out of those sticky situations if they arise in the future.
Day 42: Anniversaries make me happy. One year ago, my boyfriend and I went on our first date. We’ve been together ever since, and I am so grateful for him. He lets me be me, which is something I’ve never had in a relationship. We make a great team and I’m looking forward to spending many more years with him!
Day 43: Doing new workouts makes me happy. Each month, my trainer comes up with a new set of exercises for our sessions. I really like learning new stuff, so this is always a fun time for me. I’m sure my trainer gets tired of my constant questions about what muscles will be worked and if my technique is good though.
Day 44: Coworkers who are also friends make me happy. Imagine my surprise when I go to leave for work and my garage door wouldn’t open! I couldn’t get it open manually and had to be at work at 8am, so I called my officemate. She came to pick me up and I truly appreciated it! She is an awesome person to work with and also a good friend, which is a tough combination to find sometimes.
Day 45: Teaching camp makes me happy. I’ve been teaching classes to internal staff this week–we call them “camps”–and I have really enjoyed this group of campers. They ask great questions and even laugh at my corny jokes. 🙂