I have just come up with an ambitious project. Ambitious for me anyway. I’m not climbing Everest or doing a triathlon or anything like that. And as I am a firm believer in committing yourself to paper as a way of actually making something happen, that’s what I’m doing. Well, not actually paper, but you get the idea.
Since my last blog post about looking on the bright side, I have been thinking a lot about positive mental attitude. There is so much awful stuff happening in the world right now. Terrorism, war and refugee crises on the international stage, and cuts to welfare, the NHS, social services and education at home. It can be hard not to feel overwhelmed by the amount of need and sorrow and violence in the world. This project is my solution to not letting the dark side of life overwhelm me. Easy, relatively speaking, for me to say, because I am lucky enough to enjoy familial and financial security. I am aware that I am lucky, and often that consciousness in itself depresses me. What right do I have to a happy marriage, healthy and delightful children, a comfortable home, when I have done nothing to deserve it?
The answer of course, is no right to these blessings at all. All I can do is appreciate what I have, and try to pass on some of my happiness to others whenever I can. My project is inspired by the tradition my American cousin-by-marriage shared with us of going round the table at Thanksgiving, or Christmas in our case, and talking about one thing for which we are thankful. It’s quite unBritish to be so open and unreserved, but my husband and I both love the idea, and plan to make it one of our family Christmas traditions. My extension of it for this year is to celebrate the countdown to Christmas by writing each day about one of the things which make me happy. I don’t want to be smug about it, but I do look forward to having a tangible record I can look at when the state of the world depresses me, and to reminding myself of how much I have to be thankful for. Tonight I will be filling Anna’s beautiful Advent Calendar, handmade for her a few years ago by my super-talented sister-in-law and then, starting tomorrow I will be making my own Advent Calendar. Twenty-four blogs in twenty-four days about the things that make me happy.