Delaying Happiness

I just started reading a book called “And Then I’ll Be Happy!” by Kristen Houghton. You know I’m a fan of making myself promises on this blog that I just don’t keep, but I do hope to write more about when I’m finished. I was intrigued by the book because I feel like I’ve always had a bit of that “if only THIS went right” mentality. I was also intrigued because I know the author – she taught my husband Italian in high school and we went on to converse after graduation. Our paths crossed again recently after an unfortunate event, I found out she wrote this book and instantly wanted to read it.

And like anything else I WANT to do, as opposed to NEEDING to do, I put it off. It’s probably a good sign you should read a book about putting off happiness when you can’t ever find the time to read, which is something you love to do. When I couldn’t sleep at 3am, I finally picked up the book. I am already feeling the impact.

Anyone who reads this blog, or my Facebook updates, knows that I’m full of lofty goals, many of which never come to fruition because I always find something else to eat up my time. Of course then I spend considerable time complaining about it, but that’s another blog. This morning, as I was indulging in some quality time with my Google Reader, something occurred to me.

I spend so much time reading blogs about my interests, thinking about how I’ll do this or that, how great the results will be. But it’s all talk and think and no do. And I never thought about this as putting off happiness, I thought of this as just not having time. This led me to think a little bit about Flylady (google her if you don’t know who she is). She says, in a nutshell, that perfectionism is what holds many of us back from just getting started.

And then the two things collided in my brain and I realized something: I don’t have to do things perfectly to be happy, I just need to start doing them. If I wait until timing is perfect to do things perfectly, I’ll be reading blogs forever, just gathering more information to add to my mental wishlist.

Here’s the practical application: I’ve been wanting to do a freezer cooking day for about 3 years now. That’s where you spend a day prepping your recipes, shopping for ingredients, planning, etc., then you spend a whole day cooking. And you do it with a friend so it’s fun. Yeah, well, I don’t have time for that. I mean, I still want to do it, and hopefully I will (I have an interested friend lined up!). But who says I have to wait until I have 2 full days to devote? Who says I have to cook everything THAT day? I said, and I was being silly.

So my newest goal is to just pick one of the things and cook it. Get started. Enjoy the time I can spend doing it and when time and energy permit, do more. And not the perfect thing (because you know that the FIRST thing had to be the perfect choice, right?), just something. The time will never be perfect. Where I want to be in life is not something that will happen instantly. It is a journey. Every day I have the opportunity to take steps towards getting there, or I can choose to sit here and wish I could take that first step. Today I choose to move forward.

Disclaimer: It’s very hard to write a blog on a laptop when a 3.5 year old is sitting on your left arm. However, blogging is something I really enjoy and I rarely do it because the timing is never right to sit down and write. But I’m not waiting around for perfect timing any more to spend time (even a few minutes) doing something I love. All this is to say I wanted to get this idea off my brain and onto the blog and I’ve run out of editing/proofreading time and attention. I’ll just live with it as is knowing you get the point.

Signed,
A (hopefully former) perfectionist.

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