Did you grow up thinking you would eventually “live happily ever after”? Sure, there are those who live seemingly charmed lives – full of picture-perfect love, success, and a symmetrical face. Does this mean that those of us who experience challenges, disappointments, and grief, are any less happy?

I just attended my bi-weekly networking group meeting where the topic of discussion was about time – how we manage it, maximize it, and try not to squander it. This group of smart, soulful women passed along their tips, tactics, and life lessons. I will happily implement many of them.
I brought up my perspective of having my time entirely hijacked by the birth of my daughters. The challenge of caring for Quinn resulted in me giving up my beloved job and learning to release any semblance of control over my time. I eventually gained perspective on this loss of control and find peace in the moments when my plans go awry. I had to learn to just let it go.

Today is a good example. I planned on being terribly productive after my networking meeting – flying through my To-Do list and ending my day with a feeling of satisfaction at a job well done. As luck would have it, today’s caregiver is suddenly unable to meet Quinn at her day program downtown, where they normally travel back to my home via our city’s accessible transit provider. This lops three-and-a-half hours off my workday, as I will now drive to the program to pick her up and spend the rest of the day attending to her needs in the absence of our caregiver.

Our group’s discussion then turned to happiness – what it means, how to achieve it, how to sustain it, where it comes from – you know, the usual “meaning of life” chats you have with a group of like-minded women. My contribution to the discussion centred on my “moments of happy” philosophy, wherein I describe how my overall emotional state flows from my learned ability to appreciate and marinate in those happy moments, despite all outside negative forces, or indeed because of them.
So today, despite my time being hijacked, my To-Do list remaining unchecked, and my expected sense of accomplishment being thrown out the window, I will focus on the smile I will encounter when I arrive to pick my bunny up, and the conversation we will have as we drive home listening to the Totally-80’s Friday afternoon tunes on the radio. Tiny happy moments.