Thursday, March 31, 2016

Happiness Project Update - Q1 2016 Status Check

It’s March and that means the end of Q1 2016.

I’m more than halfway through my second semester of #1Lhell. Which means I have another attempt at law school exams lurking in the not-to-distant future.

It also means I’ve learned a ton. I really have. It’s easy to minimalize how much you’re learning in law school because it’s all very details oriented. In the end, though, I’ve learned a lot about Torts, Contracts, Legal Writing (my least favorite class, surprisingly), Legal Research, and Property (one of my favorite classes – except for present estates and future interests because what evil demon thought that crap up!?!).

Anyway, in addition to school work I’ve had nearly three months to work on my happiness project.
Here are some of my results so far:

January’s goal – Declutter
· I tackled the kitchen! I decluttered the cabinets and pantry. I even decluttered the fridge. I felt really good about accomplishing this task because I’ve been cooking more and more and needed my kitchen to be orderly. Of course, it’s now March and my kitchen is almost always in a state or clutter: dishes piled in the sink or drying on the counter, fruit bowl on the counter, etc. However, everything does have a place to go – I just fail at putting stuff away. It’s very peaceful when I get around to putting everything away.

· For example, I’ve been meal prepping. This means on Sunday I cook all the food for the entire week, package it up in serving size containers, and store it in the fridge. As you can imagine, I have a literal boat-load of tupperwear. Before the January deculttering I could never find enough lids. Now, however, I have all my meal prep containers in one area, stacked with their lids. All other containers are in another, separate, area and those lids are in a drawer. It’s so much easier to put away the meal prep containers when they are clean and to find clean containers when I need them. It’s fabulous.

· Now if I could just get back on top of keeping the dishes out of the sink and finishing meal prep on Sunday that would be great.

· I also failed at decluttering other spaces – didn’t get to my linen closets, the master bedroom, or the living room. I did declutter my closet but it exploded almost immediately into a huge, unwieldy mess. So I’m not counting that.

February’s goal – Be more present
· I pretty much failed at this goal. At least I failed at it during the month of February.

· I ambitiously sought to create no-phone-zones so I could be more present with my hubby. But every time I wanted to implement a no-phone-zone it seemed impossible. The first no-phone-zone I picked was the car. Seems easy, right? But then I needed directions or I needed to google the hours to some place. And when while I was doing that I would get a text from a friend at school or my sister. Then I would be texting and googling while my hubby drives….so it because pretty clear that the car was not a realistic no-phone-zone.

· Why not make the bedroom a no-phone-zone? My parents do. They charge their phones in the kitchen so they never have their phones in the bedroom. Seems easy enough. But my hubby and I use our phones more than our laptops. We are constantly searching things on our phones or checking the status of our amazon orders or browsing Pinterest (in my case). We do all of these things in bed before we turn off the light so the bedroom didn’t seem like a realistic no-phone-zone either. Moreover, I read my e-reader in bed a lot. And it didn’t seem fair that I should be able to read my books but Handsome Jack not be able to research the latest bike mod he likes one his phone. All things considered, the bedroom was not going to be a no-phone-zone.

· Jump ahead to March. My friends and I start a Fitbit step challenge that requires me to hit 10k steps a day. This led me to take walks with Handsome Jack after work or school. Our walks became the perfect no-phone-zones! We walk, enjoying the weather and each other. We talk and joke and are perfectly present. Sure, it’s a month late (March, not February) but better late than never.

March’s goal – Make time for friends
· Finally, I accomplished the vast majority of a goal on time! I coordinated with my gal pals to have a ‘girls weekend’ later this year. I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve been friends forever but seeing people face to face is always better than merely liking their status updates on Facebook.

· I also coordinated with both sides of my family to have family vacations later this summer!! This is a tradition that started a few years ago and has been one of my all-time favorites. Handsome Jack’s family get together will be at the beach (have I mentioned how much I love the ocean!?) and my family get together will be at the lake (are you sensing a theme here?).

· March hasn’t been all fun and games, however. Earlier this month I learned about the tragic and sudden passing of a dear friend. His death really threw me into a spiral. I started questioning everything. Why him and not me? Why him at all? Did he know how much he was loved? And even though I hadn’t seen him in years I knew he was out in the world, shining his brilliant light into someone else’s life. Now that he has passed the world seems a little less special. But I’m better for having known his kind heart. I’m better for having learned from his determined spirit. The more I focused on all we had together the more I realized the tragedy of his death is overshadowed, at least for me, in the miracle of having known him at all. Of all the people in all the world I was his friend and he was mine. We were close for years and he left an indelible mark on my heart. Isn’t that what this whole happiness project is about? Being present and grateful for all we have while we have it?

· I’ve been helping, in a small way, to plan my friends memorial. As a result I feel connected with friends from my past and I’m looking forward to celebrating my friends life (because he was awesome and loved). If I can help celebrate his awesomeness in any small way I knew I had to contribute. Although it’s sad, this memorial is another way I’m making time for friends.

That’s where I am in my happiness project. Progress, happiness, and some sadness (c’est la vie). I’m not always on schedule with my goals but if you’ve learned anything from my previous posts on goals (here and here) then you know that a little slippage is okay – to be expected even. So far I’m staying the course. I don’t believe I need to make any changes to my goals so far. And I’m really enjoying the 12 smaller goals. It seems more manageable than one or two overarching, yearlong goals. My only yearlong goal is my 5k goal (one race every month). Check out my race recaps for January, February, and March.

How are your goals coming along? How are you working to find your happiness?

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