Oct 22, 2014
I had heard about this concept a while ago and then it faded from my memory as life’s interesting tidbits are apt to do. Recently, it came up again, I can not remember where, and I thought, I need to look into this concept again. The Happiness Set Point, aka and related to the Adaptation Level phenomenon and subjective well-being and hedonistic adaptation to positive and negative experiences.
It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that I was a psychology major before I changed to Mass Communications in my Junior year. It may surprise you to know that my Father is a big wig in the psychology world developing his own personality test to aid companies in finding the best people within their own companies to do the job. I have always loved the concept of teasing apart the knot that seems to be our psyche and our behaviors. I’m a dabbler and this was my daily dabble.
When I found the definition to this theory, I was intrigued and horrified all at once. The Set Point Theory of Happiness, as summarized on The Changing Minds site, states that after the initial excitement settles down after you’ve won the lottery, you will revert back to being as neurotic or as extroverted as you were initially. You are who you are, be it your genetic propensity or environmental influences, an external stimulus will effect you temporarily. I say, unless there is some sort of profound spiritual and mental shift or changing of values, you will still be you through most of your life’s ups and downs.
I have been thinking how much of a Lady of Perpetual Discontent I seem to be. I’m always wanting to make it better, be happier, and see clearer. Under it all, I think I waffle on the concept of “fixing” myself. That is another subject for another day. So it seems to me that my happiness set point, even though I do laugh a whole lot every day, isn’t as high as I’d like it to be. I would like to prescribe to more gratitude journaling, to writing permission slips for myself, and am endeavoring to take myself less seriously while also taking myself more seriously in the matters of my talents. Because using those is what really makes me happy. Even you can see that. And my husband says, if it doesn’t make you happy, then you’re not doing it right. Not so much do I need to fix it but change perspectives a little on how I see the life I am living at any given moment.
PS. I found this subject actually depressed me and I began to feel slightly hopeless. It seeped in me, a general unwellness that said, you’ll never get any better at doing this. And it took a sermon on Hope and sighting a fawn at the end out the window to realize I had in fact begun to feel that way.
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Oct 21, 2014
I’m chewing my lip again. I’ve returned to that place I escaped so long ago. Toddler-hood. And it’s all the Hell I remember it to be and more. The place that makes the strong feel like failures. And there’s nothing more than live in survival mode to get you through.
This morning, all I wanted to just make the breakfast. Wanted to and had to are synonymous. Maybe I also wanted to take a bathroom break, meditate, write, drink more coffee in an empty house with all day alone to look forward to. But I’m smoking crack if I think I’m getting a soul satisfying amount of alone time in the next 16 years. Presently, at 48, I fear that when Fiona gets dropped off at college, I’ll be dropped off at the retirement village door. Lot’s of alone time there.
I had to peel her screaming conflicted self off me and lock her out of the kitchen to finish making breakfast. Seems everyone, family and strangers alike, want to guess why the baby is fussy. Is it/it must be a) She needs to poop, or b) she’s cutting teeth, or c) she didn’t get enough sleep, or d) she’s hungry. This past two weeks, it was each one at the same time AND she’s trying to figure out if she needs me or not and if that’s a bad thing or a good thing. And if she stops needing me, will I disappear or abandon her?
Later, I discovered that silence, although bliss, needs to be questioned and investigated and there’s no such thing as Toddler proof. She’d taken a blue ball point pen and scribbled a 3 inch by 3 inch glob of blue ink on the arm of my chair cover. I pulled her out of the chair and peeled off the cover and promptly sprayed it with Resolve, Shouted it, and added clothes detergent and then scrubbed at it with a scrub brush. It worked but gift horse silences need to be heeded from now on. She’s a member of the loud family. There will always be a price to pay for her silence.
We’ve begun to put her in the time out chair aka the thinking chair, or what my first-born called the Fixing chair. That has done a wonderful job of allowing her some separation from her out of control impulses. She actually seems to be grateful for the time and boundary.
I would be lying if I said I was looking forward to the rest of the toddler years with anything but dread. It’s Clash of the willful Titans and she may be cute to you but she also has no issues with you. It’s my soul she needs to devour before she can move on to toy with yours. She is our little Fuego Rojo. Wished I took naps. Maybe the unconsciousness would distract me from the twitch that’s starting up again under my left eye. Hello irksome old friend.
Oct 20, 2014
It was a Tuesday, last Tuesday, and I went to drop off Fiona at my mother-in-law’s Mary’s. Fiona had the tail end of a cold so I go to dig for a wipe to dig at her green booger crusted face. And I discover…there are no wipes. In fact, there are no diapers either.
I remember this happening once before with the first child. No diapers in the diaper bag. They must have all been removed at daycare for back-up. Mary says, “No problem, we’ll make due” or “figure out something”. She’s from the old school of hard knocks parenting. You made do with what you had and the kids survived.
I stood there in the realization that I had two appointments in my imminent future and I needed to get hustling to round-up diapers. Then I left to buy the diapers and wipes. Because that little girl was due up for a poopie. No way was I OK with thinking I’d be at my doctor’s appointments and I would be worrying about her nappy necessities. And what my Mother-in-law could possibly be “makiing do” with.
These older mothers, they know trenches. Making do was what they know and they were masters of the art of not needing. We’re the ones creating high maintenance kids with out hovering and our over-doing. My husband was told to clean his plate because there was no more. Sure he and I share abundance issues but my point is, they won’t die if we don’t snack them every half hour and then wonder why they never eat. And they won’t remember if their Grandmother uses a dishtowel as a nappy. But that will only happen if I am blissfully ignorant of the lack of nappies. I have my limits. And my mother-in-law has hers. They’re just somewhere I’m unwilling to go.