Monthly Happiness Report: Penny Is Almost 40 With Bangs — February 2017

Dear Rich,

A lot of the people around me don’t seem to be very happy lately. This is a rough estimate, but I think that around 60% of my friends are either very unhappy in their marriages or are in the process of getting a divorce. There’s a lot of despair going around. There’s a lot of brokenness. Life just seems to be getting a lot of people down.

Sometimes I think that I’m the only one who got the memo that everything is going to be alright.

When I think about my life in terms of happiness and smiley faces, I would say my baseline is probably around 4 out of 5. Not perfect, but usually feeling pretty good most of the time.

As you can see, I fell a little under par this month, with only 3 out of 5 smileys.

Some of the things that bothered me this month were:

1) My haircut. So, I got my haircut last month, right? (I was upset with myself for spending money at a salon when I should have just done it myself.) Well, prior to the haircut, my eleven-year-old son and I were having this contest to see who could go the longest without cutting their hair. I ended up winning (which, as it turns out, resulted in very little fanfare), but cut my hair shortly after he did. His hair ended up getting down to his shoulders and mine was halfway down my back. I was getting so sick of it by the end of the whole thing, that I wanted to do something special and wonderful to it. So, I got bangs.

Big mistake.

The bangs looked okay, but they didn’t make me look any prettier or younger, which is what I was secretly hoping for. And, as it turns out, bangs are quite a chore to keep up with. My hair is so used to going the other direction, that if I don’t tend to them (which is more often than not), it looks like I’m in a constant state of having bedhead.

This is just part of my constant struggle with how to present myself to the world. I’m not good at it. This happens with my clothing choice too. When I did the Kon Mari thing awhile back, I got rid of almost all my clothes because they didn’t bring me joy. Then, I bought a Pittsburgh Steelers t-shirt that I did like (not because I’m a fan of the Steelers, but because it fit me well), and I wore that every day for a couple of months until I got some hand-me-downs from my teenaged nieces.

I don’t enjoy shopping. I’m not good at finding clothes for myself.

So now, I’m just wearing some stupid hand-me-downs (ups?) from teenagers with stupid bangs for a haircut. This is my life.

2) I’m turning 40 next month. I don’t particularly like being the center of attention, but I do like celebrating birthdays, so I am throwing a big party for myself. But hardly anybody has RSVP’d yet! Don’t they like me? Why hasn’t everyone responded? What if this party is totally lame? (These are things going through my head.) So, I am a bit nervous about how this whole 40th birthday party thing is going to go down.

Plus, I am just kind of having a hard time with aging. I don’t want to do it. (My husband tells me that I have to, and that it’s a gift to grow old, blah, blah, blah.)

Gosh, this is getting kind of depressing. Instead of focusing on happiness, I’m zeroing in on the little things that irked me this month. I guess happiness is a spectrum, but let’s get onto the Happy Things already!

Ultimately, I think that happiness can be found in the still, quiet moments, where you get a chance to reflect on your life, so I try to harvest a lot of that. I’m not like people like you, people who take their phones into the bathroom with them (seriously, if you can’t have a moment of stillness when you’re going to the bathroom, when can you?). I like the stillness.

Here are some things that made me happy this month:

1) At night, my husband and I sleep with our 18-month-old cuddled in between us. When I go to bed, I snuggle up next to him and rest my mouth and nose on the top of his head and just breathe him in. It’s magic. I love that time.

2) My 7-year-old daughter made up this play from a Piggy and Elephant book (if you haven’t heard of these books yet, you need to) that she read. She had my husband and herself act out the roles, complete with costumes and props. She had everything all worked out. It was super creative and cute and fun.

3) Watching my older kids play basketball.

4) Starting this blog with you, Rich! Seriously, it’s been a lot of fun so far.

I’ve said before that happiness is having something to look forward to, no matter how big or small. So, here are some things I looked forward to this month: Date Nights with my husband, Book Club with friends, watching Adam Ruins Everything, quiet time, and ice cream.

I find it interesting to note that nothing on my happiness spectrum has anything to do with money. Isn’t that interesting?

I guess that’s it for me. Looking forward to hearing how your month went.

With love and happiness,


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