As I settled down on the couch with my husband, our kids sleeping peacefully upstairs, all of us worn out from another amazing weekend of family time and house projects, the intrusive thoughts began to flood in. It happens to me when things get quiet. Although my body is bone-tired, my brain, exhausted from a day of motherhood and work, somehow flips into overdrive. Once I start, I can’t stop. I tumble down the rabbit hole of what-ifs, and before I know it I’m in over my head with worry. It’s been like this for most of my life, but it’s come to a head in the last year.
You see, my life used to be a lot harder. My husband was away for months at a time with the Navy. We had little to no communication while he was at sea. I lived far from family. I worried about whether we’d ever be able to settle down, to afford a home. I worried I wouldn’t be able to have children, and when I did finally get pregnant, I had health problems and worried I wouldn’t be a good mother. I worried that my scattered career experience would make me unmarketable in my field. I had family members who were ill. I had real worries. Real REASONS to worry.
And today, I don’t.
So that’s why the intrusive thoughts start. This can’t be real. It all worked out. How can it be this good? How can he, my husband, be this GOOD. How can he love me so fiercely, forgive all my shortcomings, and support me so grandly? How can my two little boys be THIS sweet, THIS perfect? How can I actually have fulfilling work along with a fulfilling job as a mother? How can we have survived — thrived, even — through more challenges over the first seven years of our marriage than many face in a lifetime? Everyone is happy and healthy.
How can it be this good?
The intrusive thoughts speak: Something bad is about to happen. It can’t be this good.
But you know what? Sometimes it really is that good.
I have been reading “The Happiness Project,” by Gretchen Rubin, and it has really inspired me to re-evaluate how I measure my own happiness. Like the author, I am a happy person with a wonderful family and a good life. Things are GOOD and things are relatively easy for us both. The author states that her happiness project isn’t based on becoming happy, but rather on maximizing her happiness and then storing that happiness away for a time when she may need to call on it. When life is good, focus on your happiness. I’m working on that.
My newfound goal is to be able to call on the GOOD the next time my world falls off its axis. The next time things are hard, I will remember the happy. I will remember that I am unselfish, I am genuine, and I try so hard. I care deeply about the people around me, and I give all of my energy to the well-being of others. I have made mistakes in my life, but none were intentional, nor were they malicious. I have spent my life being a giver, not a taker. To question why there is good in my life is to question everything I have worked toward. So, I will be selfish in this, and I will take this good, because I deserve it. I am good, and I deserve this good.
No longer am I willing to let the fear of the bad rule my mind. I will enjoy the GOOD, and I will hang on to it for dear life when I need it someday. I’ll remember the easy. I’ll let it give me strength and the knowledge that things will be good again, and I’ll know that I deserve the good that comes to me.
The fear of something bad happening used to paralyze me. Instead, I’m allowing it to liberate me. I am reveling in it. I am shouting it from the rooftops. This is GOOD. Life is GOOD.
A time when everything is in its place and things finally feel easy deserves to be celebrated, mama. Bank your good and save it for later when you need to call on it to remind you that there is light in your life.
Because sometimes it really is that good.