Always Find Time For The Things That Make You Happy To Be Alive

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Always Find Time for the Things That Make You Happy

My hair hasn't been done in too long. I'm still trying to figure out how to operate a post-baby body that will NEVER be the same shape as my pre-baby body. My clothes probably have some kind of bodily fluid on them.

But I have a secret: I'm really freakin' happy.

Not in the day-to-day, "All my children are gorgeous and courteous and all our food is organic and homemade" kind of way. No, my kids are just as filthy and full of mac n' cheese as anyone else's. I'm happy because ten years ago, my husband was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

Ten years ago, on the day after we got engaged, he was rushed to the hospital after appearing to have a stroke. And lucky us, it wasn't a stroke; it was a series of tumors in his brain, some too deep to consider removing. It's called astrocytoma, the most aggressive form of glioblastoma, itself one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. He was supposed to have about eighteen months to live.

Ten years ago, we had a heart to heart about what we wanted from life  what we really wanted. What would give our lives the most joy and the most meaning. We planned the wedding we wanted, when we wanted it.

As his treatment went well, we went through IVF and conceived wonderful twin daughters. We bought a fixer-upper of a condo, and then had another baby. We ate too much cheese and carbs, and drank the expensive beer, and had epic birthday parties to which we invited literally everyone we knew.

We still live like that now, ten years later, with three amazing daughters and the same heap of barely-middle-class woes as anyone else. It's amazing to worry about stuff as mundane as which schools our kids are going to, and whether or not I'm the do-nothing mom on the teacher appreciation committee.

I love that I get to nag my husband to go to the gym. I love that every once in a while, I spend the morning screaming my head off at three monsters who have managed to un-learn how to wear socks during the course breakfast. I love my boring, mundane life.

Ten years ago, we were told we had an expiration date, and we decided to use that as our excuse to always be happy. To not waste our time on things we don't care about, and things that make us miserable, and things that exhaust us.

And the truth is, we all have an expiration date. We are all mortal. We will all someday leave this world for the next, and what will we leave behind?

I know what my husband and I are leaving behind: As many happy memories, as many close friends, as many beautiful moments as we can fit into our lives. Even if sometimes, those beautiful moments are both of us in pajama pants spilling cracker crumbs into the bed as we watch our sixth episode of The Venture Bros., before passing out with the light on and ice cream melting on the bedside table.

It's not about only us or about his disease. I make it a priority to find the time to paint once in a while. I sing in the shower. I take spa days with my friends. My husband makes the time to play video games and eat mountains of waffles on Saturday mornings. When either of us knows something is really going to make us happy, truly, we do it.

Something nobody tells you about prioritizing your happiness is, it doesn't have to come at the cost of anyone else's joy. You can do what makes you happy, and it doesn't hurt anyone. You can take a trip. You can take a class and learn a skill.

The only thing that has to change for people around you is they're around a happier person. And that's something worth leaving behind when your expiration date comes.

Always find time for what makes you happy. Always find ways to tell yourself you're worth the amazing, temporary and glorious life you lead. When you're exhausted and gross in the morning, let it be because you wanted this. Because you wanted what you have, and that means sometimes you want it to be gross.

Sometimes, the boring, mundane crap is the best thing you have ever done, and it's amazing. And sometimes, it's a reminder that when you get a minute, you're going to your favorite donut shop and buying yourself something awesome. Because no day should end with regret.

Life is hard. Don't make it harder on yourself by pretending YOU are the least important item on your to-do list. Live a life where even your crappiest moments are a choice aimed at your own happiness.

Live like you've got terminal brain cancer, and this is all you get. Believe it or not, it's a pretty great life.