The holidays swept in and out in the blink of an eye. This past holiday season I was in a better place both mentally (not as stressed or grumpy) and financially (I made several gifts and did not shopping when I wanted to) and therefore I felt like I was able to appreciate the holiday a bit more. It was such a busy time leading up to the actual holiday that it was a bit of a blur and before I knew it, I was eating Chinese takeout with my family. Seriously, within an hour gifts were exchanged and opened and some family members dispersed to other places that they had to be.
As we ate our takeout, takeout that was ordered because no one had cooked, I expressed just how upsetting it was that a holiday season was over in an instant. My mom and aunt both agreed that they would have liked more family time and we promptly made plans to make the next year a time of family and fellowship.
It may seem strange to say that I need to create fellowship with my family but it’s true. For most of my life my family has lived with a few miles of each other and we are physically close to each other. I grew to resent the literal closeness and made choices to distance myself from my family. I thought I would be happier if I did my thing and found that I was not always alone in that thinking. This is not to say that my family is some awful entity; not at all. But the Fagg Family can be a force to be reckoned with and sometimes this girl felt that she needed a break. That break seemed to have come at a price and at times my family seems to be perfect strangers and not people I have known forever. I thought I would take a cue from Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home and make myself Happier with Family in my home.
Almost three years ago I made a list of 101 things I would complete in 1001 days. The list included a variety of things, from paying someone’s library fines, to taking a walk through my neighborhood, to trying new restaurants. The deadline for finishing my list, April 27th, is coming up and I am a little saddened that I kind of abandoned my list and did not accomplish some of my goals. My normal behavior would be to beat myself up about not finishing the list but following my goal to flourish this year, I decided to stop the mental beat down, take another look at the list and choose a few items which I could complete by the time April rolls around.
There are three items on my list which I have adapted for my Happier with Family at Home project and they are to have a dinner party, start a game night and to call my relatives at least twice each week. With everyone having cell phones we all have been texting each other which has been really fun. It may sound silly but it’s been a hoot to get a text message from my mom, cousin and daughter with the silliest jokes, emoticons and sometimes a simple hello.
I have also set into motion plans for my first dinner party with the family for the end of this month and I am kind of nervous. When we chatted on Christmas our conversation was heavily flavored with all of the things that could go wrong and I hesitated to make arrangements because I only heard the negatives. There could also be positives and instead of worrying about what could go wrong, I am focusing on what can and will go right and I have in mind a great evening of food, laughter and trash talk. To prep for this night I have been cleaning and purging the clutter and that is enough to make me feel brighter. My house is a home and waiting to be filled with family and games.
This post was inspired by Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin where she runs a nine month experiment to create happier surroundings. Join From Left to Write on January 6 we discuss Happier at Home. You can also chat live with Gretchen Rubin on January 7 on Facebook! As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.