I have always said I love blogging. There is a freedom in being able to go from topic to topic and allow inspiration to feed the flow of words. At times I wonder if I might be a more successful blogger if I stuck to a particular theme, but my mind is quick to reject the idea. It likes genre-hopping. I follow cooking blogs, fitness blogs, literature and history, book reviewers and other authors. I don’t limit myself at all. There is so much of interest out there and it serves to sharpen creativity, leads me down paths of thoughts I don’t expect.
Suzanne from Happily Decluttered for instance, generously shares her happiness highlights every month as well as her normal blog post. For December 2021 she spoke of simple things like driving around to enjoy Christmas lights with her family, making homemade hot chocolate and learning to knit and she found the space to mention some of her favourite bloggers. Those moments are ‘feel good’ and stay with you.
So why not, I thought, start the new year with some happiness highlights. My best moment in December was helping my eldest daughter buy a dress whilst face timing. It was hilarious. The change room was small, the phone bounced from corner to corner, I saw arms, legs, ceiling lights and heard passing comments that had nothing to do with the parade of dresses Ms T was trying on.
It made me miss my daughter less pushing Covid aside for a few minutes. Then I received a beautiful review for Unexpected Obsession followed by speaking to everyone in my family for Christmas including those overseas. I also perfected almond cookies, the Italian kind.
However, January burst my bubble. Caught up in the concept of happy, I allowed my window to fog up and the not so pleasant knocked at my door in the form of friends I thought I knew. The first instance two longstanding friends (in different states) spoke up strongly about rights in the current climate. I don’t want to discuss what was said. What I will say is that I respect the right to differ in opinion. What I don’t and will never respect, is the belief that personal entitlement overrides the welfare of others. Such blatant disregard for the global community leaves me cold whether it comes from the person on the street, friends, or superstars in the sports field.
The second instance saddened me. Another friend who really is more of a family member and I spoke for the holidays. Five minutes into the conversation and I realised that this person had progressed and now wore the ‘mantle of the expert’. At least, in the arena of holding grudges. We had a disagreement twelve years ago, the first and only one in fifty-five years for which I have apologised many times. Yet it winds itself into the discussion every single time as does offences done and said to her from so many others. Slights are counted and recounted like a miser might count their money – with precision and often.
Happiness highlights took another back step when (I guess things do come in threes) a tone in a friend’s voice alerted me to what I knew instantly knew was not a one-off. I’d heard that tone before. As annoyed, angry, frustrated I get, I don’t hide it and I don’t do nasty. I am the classic ‘temperamental Italian’ – bark but no bite but it doesn’t mean I don’t recognise the opposite.
The irony of my thoughts do not escape me. Happy moments led to the contemplation of unhappy moments. Ridiculously, I found myself at the computer. As a consequence, I also found myself voicing questions to the room. Carrie from Sex and the City came to mind. (Don’t ask why). Does it matter that people hold different views? Do I walk away from a lifetime of memories with a friend who has let life defeat her? Do I accept that even in good friendship we can discover things we don’t like? Do we let it go? Should we? Ignoring/accepting is enabling, isn’t it?
I don’t know the answer. Yet if we dwell on things we don’t move forward. As a result we may risk losing good moments. Later, watching television I caught the episode of The Big Bang Theory when Howard’s mother dies. Sheldon has been misusing a certain phrase as he often does and his decision to speak and ease Howard’s grief horrifies the others. To everyone’s surprise the words are comforting but nevertheless Penny turns to Leonard and whispers, “I really thought he was going to say let it go.”
Unfortunately, this is not the film Frozen, and life is not and never will be simple. My last happiness highlight is realising I have a choice in how I behave and in what I accept. Hasty may start with the same letter as happiness but it is capable of checkmating happiness at every turn. What do you think?
Thank you to http://www.pixabay.com and http://www.unsplash.com and amazon for images.
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I enjoyed reading your December happiness highlight. Your description of the chaotic dressing room video call was funny and heartwarming. It brought a smile to my face. Those are the lovely moments that make life so great!
I’m sorry to hear that January has started off with some unhappy moments with people close to you. The questions you were left to ponder are questions that are similar to the ones that I have to ask myself sometimes. I keep a tight circle of friends and I value them greatly. The past two years my sister (who has always been my best friend) has basically told me there isn’t enough room in her life for me. She has gone as far to ignore me as much as possible and avoid seeing me. I tortured myself with pathetic attempts to regain her love and respect. But in the end, I found that there is nothing I can do to make her treat me kindly. It makes me very sad and I have struggled to adapt to our new “relationship”. I haven’t found the answers either but, like you, I have found a way to focus on the good and enjoy each day. Thank goodness we have the choice.
Thank you for stopping by and I appreciate the sharing. It’s hard but we do have a choice in how we behave and that’s all we can do.
You voice a quandary I’ve wrestled with as well. Long term friendship that turns unhappy, bitter–you don’t need that. But loyalty…how long should you support a person whose contact makes you miserable?
I think many people are struggling with this. I think Covid and the last few years have brought much to the forefront that may have already been in existence.
Hope your year gets a little better.
It will. There are too many good people around me and too many good things to come.
Barbara, I’m so sorry January has come upon you with multiple bad experiences/conversations with friends. I agree with you. I don’t know what the answer is I think the saddest thing for me over the last five or six years is finding out that some lifelong friends and I somehow now see the world so differently. I’ve seen racism rear its ugly head in people I thought I knew. I’ve been attacked on social media by “friends” who not only disagree with me on politics, race, guns, etc. but have felt compelled to try to “correct” my opinions and beliefs and convert me to their narrow-mindedness. It hurts and it’s downright frightening. I don’t care to get into arguments with anyone over these hot-button issues because I’m not going to change their minds. I concluded last year that nothing constructive will come out of conversation on such issues unless both parties come with open minds and a sincere desire to learn why the other party believes the things they believe. It’s exhausting, and most days I don’t have the energy to try to ascertain why others don’t see things the way I do. Most of the hot-button issues of the day come down to morals, when you get down to it. I hope things get better.
It’s strange but in some way the experience has been good. I think I needed to understand myself better and I have. It really is about our reaction, we either react or we reconcile our own beliefs. That makes us stronger. I think you may have courage and I think I may be growing some.
The inability to have an honest open conversation with the other side is becoming increasingly difficult nowadays – which is very sad. I don’t know what the answer is. My only thoughts/feelings are that we must at least try our best to understand the other side even (especially) if we don’t agree. I love the idea of happiness highlights. It’s important to pay attention to the good. We live in a world where the bad is highlighted – while the good is often ignored (because it doesn’t sell). This is made worse by our inbuilt negativity bias. I was told we need something like 4 good thoughts to counter 1 bad one. I enjoyed the post Barb. Lots of food for thought here. Wishing you a wonderful 2022 going forward 🙏
I wish you the same. I like your thoughts and I like the 4 to 1 idea. I might keep it in mind.
Your December highlight made me laugh and those are the highlights we need to hold on to. I feel your frustration at those who want their rights protected at the expense of others. Keep looking for happiness.
Well, as Nonnas we have a head start on that. Staying positive is necessary for them as much as for ourselves. ❤
I was really starting to be bothered by some of the things that friends and family were posting on facebook so I decided to just delete the app from my phone. We can have different opinions and now I don’t have to see it all the time. Great post!
Thank you and I totally agree. We have to accept the varying opinions but we don’t need to see it every day.