Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Life is Good. Repeat as Needed.

Life is good. Busy, stressful, overwhelming, but oh-so-good.

In an effort to shut up my whiny self and stop being a Negative Nancy to remind myself that, I’m going to record five things from every day that bring me joy. I’m going to be starting a little Happy List in my sidebar again and update it regularly if you care to play along.

I’ve said it over and over – but my new job is demanding of my time and energy. I love the work I am doing and the high school girls I am working with. It is just So. Great. And I’ve started seeing my friends more regularly; making a real effort to keep in touch with wonderful people who live in my city. This week, in fact, I have plans with four different friends – how awesome is that? (The fact that I am excited about this and telling the Internet on my blog? Shows you this is totally not typical for me.) Yesterday, I enjoyed coffee and conversation with Megan (and we were totally serenaded by a guy and his guitar – he even incorporated our names into his song. Too cute.) Today I’m hanging out with a college friend/teacher at my school over pumpkin spice lattes and then going out to dinner with my DOCTOR friend (who is younger than me and makes me feel completely unaccomplished – she is a DOCTOR. And became a DOCTOR at age TWENTY THREE. Psh. Overachiever.). Friday, the other 20-somethings at my school are going to the wine bar to bond over the fact that we’re closer in age to our students than most of our colleagues (and sometimes get confused for high schoolers…oh, wait, I’m the only one?).

Despite all the happiness in my life, I’ve been sort of oozing negativity. Seriously – oozing.

After venting to Mike about a particularly difficult work situation last night, he challenged me. (It’s so hard to be challenged by your husband. I JUST WANT YOU TO AGREE WITH ME, MIKE.) He pointed out what I’d been dreading for someone else to recognize: I always seem to find fault with my coworkers/work hours/cubicle/SOMETHING ABOUT WORK.

Which, while it was tough to hear, it's true and either means a) I tend to get myself into difficult work situations, b) My standards are too high, or c) I am channeling Negative Nancy. So, I am choosing to focus on improving my attitude. I went in this morning bubbling with optimism and happiness – I was all cheerful and talkative and brimming with smiles.

(Let's not talk about how long it lasted., it's the thought that counts?)

I'll take it one day at a time. Five happy things at a time.

What are your five happy things (uh, definitely not because I am lazy and need ideas...)? More importantly: What do you do when you realize you're sort being a grump-face?

(What's with all the questions lately, Ash? Well, I've realized there are a heck of a lot helpful, smart people who hang out around these here Internets. And who are just waiting to give their smart, helpful advice. And I would bake them all cookies if I could. Or brownies. With peanut butter chips. Mmm.)


  1. well, usually when I become a crabby patty of sorts, I blast my iPod with songs that make me just wanna get up and dance. because if I'm up and dancing around, I realize that things really aren't that bad.

    and it always helps to dance it out.

  2. um i so do the same thing and i am just waiting for my husband to point it out to me... always find something irritating with my job that is.

    sometimes i wonder if it is just me but its good to know i'm not alone.

    let's see, when i get in a grump mode i watch some shows i have saved, i make something creative, or, honestly sometimes i just make my husband listen to me vent and then i feel better having gotten it all out.

    can't wait to read your happy things! :)

  3. I usually just grab the dog, get in the car and go for a drive into the country. It helps me clear my head. Watching the sunset reminds me that there are are greater things out there.

  4. I can definitely relate. Last night I was seriously overwhelmed. I started by coming home and turning on some calm music (I have a couple cello soloists I love, the cello is just so mellow). Then I baked cookies, because I needed to bring something to school today, but also because then my apartment smelled like deliciousness and I had warm cookies to cram in my mouth when I started feeling upset. Finally, I sat down to get my work done and didn't allow any distractions, (just my cello music, no computer or tv) and plowed through everything I needed to do. Today I feel so very much better because last night I was calm and productive.

  5. Yeah I definitely can become grumpy very easily at work! It's hard to deal with people/things around you when you are trying to be positive and they may not be. THEN THEY GO AND RUIN IT!! :p So I don't know, usually I just tell myself the positive things about work: I'm a good worker, they love me, I have a job, etc, etc, etc.

  6. Music and going for a walk. I have way too high standards and am a perfectionist so what gets me down at work is stuff that other people just let roll off their backs. I soooo want to be one of those people.

  7. Oh Ashley I really struggle with being happy with my job. I've found it really depends on who I'm working with at the time.. but I know when I'm working late, Cale sometimes knocks it right out of the ballpark and does little things that make me feel so great, like cleaning up extra around the house, etc. It's weird because I've actually gotten used to the long hours (maybe in a sad way). For example, if I'm home before 7pm, I feel so refreshed and like I have such a long evening ahead of me.

    I don't think there will ever be a time where I LOVE my job. And this is a job where I know it's a good fit for me. So I'm not sure if I'd be any happier elsewhere either. I think the grass is always greener. I'd love to be able to stay home, but then I'm sure that would get old as well.

  8. when i'm in a grump mode, i will stay away from the BF. I always take my frustrations out on him.

  9. I'm doing the same thing as you- coming up with a mantra to make the day a bit better that I can repeat to myself. I also try to make my car time a time to look forward to- by playing only my favorite relaxing (or loud, dancy) music and having my latte. It turns my frustratingly long commute into a decompress time instead of something to dread.

  10. I've been feeling really negative lately too, which is why my monday post 'simple happy' was written- to remind me that there are wonderful, cheap, sweet things that I can do all the time that make me happy.

  11. Wen I am being a crab or getting all stressed= I just try to step back and see it in perspective. Usually if I can do this, it helps me to be in a better mood and have a better attitude.

  12. I just try to stay away from people if at all possible. I acknowledge that it's okay for me to be upset about whatever it is (and you should too--there will always be things about your work that you won't like), and try to let that feeling just pass. It usually does. If the feeling doesn't pass, then some kind of action needs to take place in order to solve or avoid the problems that make me upset. Sometimes talking about it or writing down actually makes it worse because you're drawing more energy to the thing, and making the people around you upset too. So, I try to just be alone, have a cup of tea, and go about my daily business as usual.

  13. P.S. Although I've been bad about keeping this up, every week I attempt a Thankful Thursday post in which I talk about something I'm thankful for (today I actually did post one). I applaud you for doing your 5 happy things each day. You are probably a much more positive person than you give yourself credit for.

  14. Heyy Girl! I've been swamped but your blog is the only one that got my hamster interested enough to leave a comment. :) I love that you are good busy & I love that Mike challenges you. That is one of the things I love about my beau (tony). Anyways, here are 5 things I do to get rid of grump face.

    1) WORKOUT - run. Run like it's my job.
    2) COOK - all your senses get stimulated while you cook. Do something the end of it you feel so accomplished.
    3) PAMPER - massage or mani/padi.
    4) VENT SESSION - whether it's mike, a sister, or a friend just unleash it all - unedited.
    5) SLEEP - grumpy face usually means i'm either hungry or's usually sleep so i try to catch up on my zzz's.

  15. Okay, I'm so glad it's not just me. We work in similar fields, and honestly? After being on "output" mode allll dayyyy longggg, it's really hard to feel happy & positive. I feel ya sister. I don't know if you have an iPhone, but I just downloaded a Gratitude app for .99 to force me to find good things everyday (or at least remind me!). Keeping a journal will help. As for when I'm stressed, I try writing, a bath, wine, girl time, dinner out with my boyfriend, etc. And, as awful, selfish, and contradictory as it may be to being a "hard worker" I recognize when I'm going to LOSE IT, and take a day off, refuse to work late, and don't do ANYTHING on a weekend. The thing is that really, the world won't end if you don't get something done, or you don't work late. I know it's hard when you want to make a good impression at a new place, but I promise you are LESS effective if you don't take any "you time." Swearsies. So take it, guilt free.

    I'm here ANY TIME you want to talk about this, because I soooo get it. xo

  16. Sometimes I have to give myself little pep talks about work, and they're usually pretty effective, even if I have to do it several times a week. I feel your pain.

  17. I try to assume everyone has good intent. the result might not be good...but the intent may have been good. now I say this...and it is reeeeaaallly hard. but I try...bc I would much rather give everyone the 'oh no you didn't' look and stomp off.

  18. I love that the happy list is back! Such a great idea. Usually when I'm crabby, I will take a walk or go to the gym just for a breather.

  19. Sorry you've been oozing negativity. I'm the best at complaining/being super negative about ye old job. Ha. Ahhh now I'm all paranoid that someone will find this comment on your blog! OMG. That girl Sarah complains about work! FOR SHAME! Fire her ASAP! I swear it wasn't me, guys!

    haha, this comment is weird and rambling. I should write in code. Pig latin or something way more secretive.

    Ummmmm if you find a way to have an awesome attitude, please let me know. :P

    Ok, enough secret complaining (or not so secret?) ... what do I do when I'm being a grumpface?

    Well, last night I went to bed at 10:30 p.m. and it was pretty dang sweet. I was having the worst attitude and being way too sensitive and moody and blah blah ... so I went to bed because I was super tired from always going to bed at 1 a.m. and such (or later) ... and being tired after a long day doesn't help! Oops, it's 12:41 now, I should probably get to bed. Good thing tomorrow is Friday!

    OH, I want to copy Ashley @let go, laughing's answer ... I also like to just vent and vent and vent to john until I get it all out.

    Otherwise some awesome TV or a magazine or book or random living room dance party can help too!

    Have fun hanging out! Four friends in one week! You are a social butterfly. For realz yo! I'm such a homebody sometimes, I should get out more. hah

  20. Dude.
    I've been a hardcore Negative Nancy this week. But not even in a proactive way in an OMG-I'm-sad-and-i-don't-know-why kinda way.

    Totally bites.

    I'm probably going to write a "Happy" post today.


  21. Depends on the kind of grumpy mood, but sometimes I have to actually talk myself through it. Sometimes I run. Mostly? DANCE. Awkwardly and inappropriately.

  22. "It’s so hard to be challenged by your husband. I JUST WANT YOU TO AGREE WITH ME, MIKE."

    I know how you feel, but isn't it great to have a man who wants you to be a BETTER person, because he loves you to much to let you wallow? I love that about my husband. Well, at the time, I hate it, but in hindsight, love it. ;)

    Love the idea of the happy list!!

  23. I totally feel you on this. My job brings a lot of negativity out of me, and I am always trying to improve my attitude, simply to be happier about myself.

    Sending you positive thoughts, lady!

  24. Love that you're getting swept up in the happiness revolution, too. First off, you and I could be twins. Everything you wrote about Negative Nancy and such (or, as I am called by my husband: Bitter Betty) was SPOT ON to how I've been feeling lately.

    I recently wrote a post about my own happiness project, and I'm happy to report that I've been doing well. Very well. More than anything, I've been taking charge of my emotions (not exactly easy for a passionate, emotional female, if you ask me) and that has been my first step.

    I adore your idea of the "happy list" - I've seen things like that around the internet before and it has really challenged me to seek out the good things in each day.

    And there are always many.

    Best of luck, my dear! I'm sure I say this often, but if only your duplex was connected to MY duplex, the world would be a better place. :)

  25. When I'm grumpy I try to smile even if it's the last thing that I want to seems like whenever I smile it brightens up someone's day and in turn my day too. Sometimes I also think about HILARIOUS things children Tommy at the Y who drew up the most ridiculous looking "harry potter glasses" on his face while hiding in the can't tell me that wouldn't brighten your day!! lol :)

  26. I see on your sidebar list that argyle makes you happy. It thought this might make you even happier!


C'mon, leave a comment. They're the best part!