Pushing Happiness to the Top of the List, Part II

It’s now been nearly five months since I began my journey to push happiness to the top of the list. And upon diving in, I promised myself I’d check in periodically throughout the year to hold myself accountable. So here it goes… Let’s be real, real honest here. At the beginning, I hit the ground running. I was completing one list every week. Success! Then about a month in, I started to struggle with making time for the weekly journal entries and fell behind quickly. I’d then find myself feeling guilty about falling behind, sit down and catch up all in one fell swoop. But then I realized that defeats the purpose of the prompts entirely. After all, the cover clearly states that this is a book of “weekly journaling inspiration for positivity, balance and joy.” So if I’m getting bogged down and hurrying to catch up, I’m not really finding the positive, happy balance, am I?

Now here’s the good news. I used to keep 52 Lists for Happiness on my bedside table but I’ve now found that the quiet space in my home office is the perfect spot to journal. Last week there were a lot of changes in my (our) life. I started a new part-time job (more on that later) and thus desperately needed to rearrange my home office. Until now, my beautiful parsons desk was tucked away in the not-so-glamourous guest room, piled high with papers to be filed. But with a little rearranging and organization, it already feels like a whole new creative space to call my own. A place where I feel inspired to work, write and reflect.

So last week, I journaled in the quiet comfort of my new home office and completed this prompt: list everything you feel passionate about.

You see, up until now, I’ve had varied responses to each prompt — not just in my response itself but also in the difficulty I face in answering them. Some have been easy to answer while others have proven more difficult to put into words, and a few have required my reflection and response over several days. But from the minute I read last week’s prompt, the answers seemed to flow right out of me. No hesitation. Pen to paper. Entirely natural and instinctive. I knew exactly what I wanted to write.

Here’s my answer:

– My husband and son.
– Creating a warm, comfortable, beautiful and inviting home.
– Raising my children in the Jewish faith.
– Staying fit and healthy.
– Flexing my professional muscle while balancing family.
– Continuing to learn and grow as I live new seasons of life.
– Putting myself first and standing up for myself, my family, my beliefs and values.
– Saving for the future and being fiscally responsible.
– Traveling and seeing the world as much as possible.
– Giving my children a comfortable, safe and loving life.
– Showing affection to those I love by hugging, kissing and saying I love you.
– Knowing myself, my husband and my children.
– Thinking creatively and being challenged to work harder every day.

The reality is that we so commonly throw the term “passionate” around in conversation but rarely take the time to reflect on what we’re really passionate about. I could certainly add a few more bullets to this list, like “giving to those less fortunate” or “showing my children what it means to be accepting, respectful and inclusive of others” — but I ran out of lines on the page.

At the end of each list, there’s a section called TAKE ACTION. And this time it read as follows:

As Van Gogh said, “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” Everyone has a deep-down something that they feel passionate about or desire. Sometimes your passion conflicts with who you think you are or it feels difficult to attain with your busy schedule. Plan an afternoon this month that you will devote to exploring and investing in your deepest passion without fear or embarrassment.

To be honest, I think an afternoon is awesome — and if that’s your starting point, great! — but this is something I’d rather incorporate into my daily life. And as I have continued to review my list since completing it a few days ago, it seems I already am taking daily action in many ways. A realization that gives me the encouragement and confidence to continue living a passionate life.

I invite you this week to list what you feel passionate about and then, take action. And whether you choose to share them in the comments below or not, I hope this exercise brings you the light you need to continue exploring and deepening your devotion to your truest passions, pushing happiness to the top of your list. More to come as I continue to power through the book. Anyone else working on this in 2017? I’d love to hear about your experience!