One-third of the way through the month of June and I’m finally getting around to composing my monthly happiness guide. According to my happiness muse, life in June should consist of the following items:
a) Remember birthdays.
I’m actually pretty good at this. Of course, I don’t remember everyone’s birthday, but for the inner circle people, I never forget. However, just in case, I’m creating a birthday calendar that will go up on my kitchen wall over the computer desk where I will see each day’s contents while making my morning coffee.
b) Be generous.
I don’t think there is anyone in my life who would argue that I’m not already really good at this. Too good, in fact. I would much rather do things for others, spend time helping others, or creating the perfect gift to bring a smile to someone else’s face than almost anything else on earth. My family routinely tells me I do too much, and that I spend too much time and energy doing for everyone else; I should concentrate on myself a little more. I like how I do it, though, so I don’t plan on making any change. I love making people smile, and it’s so easy to give of myself for that purpose. Making my friends and loved ones happy makes me happy.
I do realize that makes me sound like schmaltzy goody-two-shoes, but it’s the truth.
c) Show up.
See above. The person who loses out in this arena most of the time is me.
d) Don’t gossip.
I’ve gotten better with this as I’ve gotten older and have had an opportunity to see how harmful gossip can be. I’m not talking about the garden variety celebrity gossiping we all love to do about dresses and haircuts and the silly choices young starlets make, but about the stuff that is just plain mean and spiteful. The stuff that lingers and stays with anyone who has ever been so victimized. Leaving it behind will pose no hardship for me. In fact, I’m happy to have an excuse and a reason to turn that page for good.
e) Make three new friends.
This I am working on. I’m reaching out to other mothers at my son’s school, pushing myself to be more open and less guarded. I’m opening up more to women with whom I already have a passing acquaintance, and in one of those cases, I discovered a whole side of her that I never suspected. I’m smiling a lot more and saying hello more often. I have stopped thinking that women I’ve known for a long time, like those I attended high school with, wouldn’t want to be my friends now because we never were friends before. I have stopped presuming to know what people think of me and instead am giving them the opportunity to show me what they think with their behavior. I have also reached out to family members from whom I’ve long been estranged, and in each case, I’ve received notes saying, in effect, “I’m so glad to hear from you!”
I don’t know what precisely will be the outcome of my experimentation, but if I can count three more women among my contact list – even if they are not women I would go out to eat with or have to my home for an intimate tete-a-tete – then I will consider my experiment a success.