Posted by: chlost | November 30, 2011

Unhappiness Anonymous

My daughter loves me. I know that.

My daughter wants what is best for me. I know that, too.

Apparently, my daughter also believes that I am not happy with my life.

She recently sent me a book, The Happiness Project.

Her message to me was along this line—-“Mom, I read this book, and I think you would really be able to get a lot out of it. I have ordered it, and am sending it to you. Please read it and then we can talk about it. I want you to be happy.”


Here’s the thing. She’s right.

I haven’t been particularly happy for quite a while lately. I have chalked it up to a job that is both frustrating and exhausting, living in a place where winter continues for six months of every year, and the fact that I am of a certain age (namely the downside of midlife).

But I thought that I had been hiding it fairly well from all but my husband and myself. I have been making plans, secret plans, only in my head, to just make it through to retirement age at my job. Then I hoped to just move to a place where the winters are snow-free, perhaps in Europe or the southern hemisphere. That would take care of all of those issues-job, winter….well at least two out of three of those issues.

But my daughter has caught me. Even though she lives 2500 miles away from me, she can tell that I haven’t been happy. Well, maybe I have not been so great about hiding my feelings after all. My kids are actors, but apparently they did not inherit their talent from me.

The book arrived last week. I have only just begun to read it. So far, I have learned that I should make a list of the attributes of an adult, areas of my life which need to be strengthened (such as energy, marriage, friendships, etc) and more specific resolutions as to behavior to change. The author is tracking her own journey in making these changes in her life, including specific examples in her life.

I have to admit that it is intriguing. So far, there are several things that hit me square in the eye… clearing clutter and exercising more as methods of increasing energy. These are things that I have identified in my life as problems but have never actually tackled in a serious way.

Of course, if you have no energy, how likely is it that you will actually clear the clutter or exercise? My self-awareness is such that I know how difficult it will be for me to make any significant and permanent changes in my life. Right now, I have to find the energy just to finish reading the book.

This time, I think that I may have more motivation. I feel my daughter’s support and gentle push toward success. She is making changes in her life, as well. Hopefully, we can have a support system-an unhappiness anonymous group, perhaps.

Anyone else up to joining us?



  1. Sign me up Sister! I have those same struggles on almost a daily basis. You can hide it from everyone but your husband. I think I might have you beat, I can hide it from EVERYONE, including my wife. I can admit that here because I know she does not read any of my friends blogs. For me, trying to find happiness is like trying to walk in quicksand. Like you, I have thought many times about just moving somewhere and starting over. I feel like I am just walking in place, stuck in a rut here. It sounds like you often feel the same way. I would bet there a bunch more of us out here in blogville. I think this support group idea of yours is a wonderful idea! Definetly count me in!

    • Welcome to the group, Mark! I have never been involved in a support group, but I see it as being helpful. Let’s go for it. We have nothing to lose!

  2. Oh, yes. Sign me up. I struggle every day. And I did move away and start over….I struggle every day to be happy. But I don’t stop trying.

    • You’re on the guest list. Let’s keep at it.

  3. I hope the book and the gentle prodding from your daughter help you find a sense of happiness and contentment. I won’t join you in the quest however, because I must admit, in spite of everything, I’m actually happy with my life. Bored at times, yes; stressed at times, most definitely, but unhappy? No. I guess I’m fortunate. I seem to have been born with something that comes from deep inside which enables me to get through all the crap of living and still say, life is good.

    I won’t give you any advice, what the hell do I know anyway? But, I will wish you only the best and the strength you need to do whatever it is you set out to do. You may not feel you have the energy, but I know you have the strength. I’ve been blogging with you for over a year, coming up on two, and we’ve met in person so I also know; you don’t give yourself nearly enough credit.

    Girl, you can do it. Maybe one tiny step now and then if you choose; no one is counting anyway. I’m rooting for you, no matter what.

    • Thanks for your support, Yael. I am so impressed that through all that you have had to deal with you have been able to maintain a positive outlook.

  4. Count me in! Some days it is so hard to stay positive and brave but I do find great spots of happiness when I make myself take exercise and get out in the fresh air. But the blues are always hiding in wait and some days it is easier to hide away rather than make the effort. But that is blasphemous: I have the gift of life whereas others I have known have had it cruelly snatched away. Good for your daughter and how lovely to have someone who loves you enough to help you with this. Good luck:)

    • Yes, I have many wonderful gifts in my life as well. Some days it is harder to see them than others. Yes, one of the great gifts in my life is my daughter.

  5. I too will join you if that’s OK … I don’t think I’ve got this particular bug as bad as some of you, but I am really disgusted with work and humanity in general. I’d say mildly depressed on some days but not so many that it’s constant or nearly so. If nothing else, perhaps I could help buoy the rest of you up?

    • It is definitely okay to join us. The more the “merrier”!

  6. I believe in both those – clearing clutter and exercising. They come in waves for me and I feel myself gearing up for a major post-Christmas de-cluttering.

  7. Ooh, oooh. Pick me, me. I’m about to start a new stage of life but am also seeking some personal growth and currently working through a book to do it. It may not be the best time but I suppose it never is. Just wanted to let you know there’s one more on your team and to congratulate you on not responding too defensively to your daughter’s support. It’s hard to help your parents, and probably, to be cared for by your kids.

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