happy with an i

Let me be clear from the beginning. I loathe New Year’s resolutions. They press on me. Weigh me down. Beg to be broken. I’ve learned that while they are great for others, they are terrible for me.

So I don’t make them any more. But this year, there is a change I’m making. And it happens to have started 4 days ago. It isn’t a rule, it isn’t a restriction. It’s a game. With no winners or losers. And I am playing by myself.

I learned it from my friend Kelli. Kelli with an i. Kelli writes a happiness blog. It isn’t called that. It isn’t about that. It is that. She writes about her life. Her marriage. Her daughters. Her work. There are ups and downs to be sure, but at the end there is always a spring in her words. She has this the-world-is-always-filled-with-sunshine-and-dahlias if you know where to look for them point of view.

A happier life doesn’t mean a better life—it just means happier. Kelli had the same stomach flu I did—with a broken leg. And worrying if it would rush through her family fast enough they could get in a plane and fly over the ocean to someplace warm. All I had to worry about was whether or not we each made it to the toilet.

So it’s not that I want my life to be more like Kelli’s. I’m old enough now to know that doesn’t work. What reading her blog reminds me to do is work on my happy. To take time. To see the smallest possible thing, and to be happy about it.

This isn’t entirely new to me. I have a gratitude practice I do each day. Each morning, before I open my eyes, I conjure a list of three things or people or feelings I am grateful for. Then the day proceeds as usual. Often, my three gratitudes linger from something the day before. Which is fine. It’s good. In a soft, mellow sort of way. Like how a small square of dark chocolate stays on your tongue long after the bite is gone. Yet it means I wait to see the meaning.

But happy? There is a pop to that. A zing. There is a now-ness to happy. Happy demands that you look for the tiny little bubbles of bliss and freeze time so you can appreciate each moment. Right in the midst of life. Right as they happen.

So these past four days? I’ve interrupted myself. Randomly. In the middle of something big. In the center of nothing. And there it is. Happiness.

Happiness protects us from the future. The if-onlys. The once-I’ves. Happiness is different. It isn’t about the next great thing. It is now.

Right now happy. Not huge capital H Happy. Not bold HAPPY. Not lottery-winning crazy happy. Simple. Small. Happy with an i. Happi.

Because the most important change you can make is the smallest one. Happi begins here.

Do you have a happi practice? What is it? What are the rules to your game? We each have a story. I’d love to hear yours.


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