Hello, dear reader! It’s been a beat since we’ve seen each other around this small corner of the Internet. I apologize for the lack of content lately but know that I’ve missed you something terrible! I haven’t mentioned it much here but there’s been a bit of turbulence lately in my professional career with my company working its way through an acquisition process. The company was downsizing to 1/3 of the original size and I’ve been interviewing at a myriad of other companies in the case I didn’t love the acquiring company or didn’t receive an offer. It’s been busy and a bit stressful but I’m thrilled to report it worked out as ideally as I could have hoped. I’m excited to continue with my current company as we are bought by a European tech company based in Denmark (how fancy!).
I thought about not mentioning this and simply picking up where I left off in posting daily content about the small joys in life. I am fully aware that in the big picture of life my “problems” are not really problems. I’m incredibly fortune and blessed to have the life I do with more than I could need and surrounded by the best love I’ve ever known; I owe a huge shout out to my sweet husband and supportive family thought this process. Sampson, you’ve been no help at all, little puppy.
That said, I felt it would be more honest to say something because when I look through my Instagram or blog archives it’s all very true. We did get an amazing few days in LA, we did redo our bedroom, and we did have some very enjoyable evenings out with family and friends. However, that’s not really the whole story. I cried more than once – sometimes in frustration, sometimes in self-pity. I snapped at my husband for doing nothing wrong. I spent hours smiling and whipping out answers to technical questions, offering up my very best self, only to be so exhausted I wouldn’t have the energy to play with the dog in the evening. I missed my workouts more times than I would like to admit. But I don’t for a second think any of this is a bad thing. It’s honest. And life is about wholeness. I once read a quote that has stuck with me for years now:
I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.
—Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life
Isn’t that beautiful? I think it’s very obvious that social media doesn’t show everything and most people realize that it is, in fact, an incredibly curated slice of a person’s life. Yet, it can be easy to fall into the trap of comparing your behind-the-scenes life to someone else’s polished, published one.
To steal a passage from Joanna Goddard and her blog:
When life seems consuming, I think about this article’s “thin slices of joy.” Chade-Meng Tan, Google’s former happiness guru, explains his philosophy that happiness doesn’t have to be a constant overarching feeling. It can come as sweet, short moments throughout your day.
“Right now, I’m a little thirsty, so I will drink a bit of water. And when I do that, I experience a thin slice of joy both in space and time,” he told CBC News. “It’s not like ‘Yay!’” he notes in Joy on Demand. “It’s like, ‘Oh, it’s kind of nice.’ ”
Usually, these events are unremarkable: a bite of food, the sensation of stepping from a hot room to an air-conditioned room, the moment of connection in receiving a text from an old friend. Although they last two or three seconds, the moments add up, and the more you notice joy, the more you will experience joy, Tan argues. “Thin slices of joy occur in life everywhere… and once you start noticing it, something happens, you find it’s always there. Joy becomes something you can count on.” That’s because you’re familiarizing the mind with joy, he explains.
And The Book of Life agrees that simple things can be the most meaningful:
A pleasure may look very minor – eating a fig, having a bath, whispering in bed in the dark, talking to a grandparent, or scanning through old photos of when you were a child – and yet be anything but: if properly grasped and elaborated upon, these sort of activities may be among the most moving and satisfying we can have.
Anyhow! I hope that brings a bit of comfort to you and I appreciate this space as a place I can be entirely honest. I’m really excited to be back with the mental space to write again. I’ve missed it! Sending you all lots of love on this Monday afternoon!0