As we board life's runaway train for another year of twists and turns and ups and downs, I can't help but wonder, "Will this ride be better than the last?" We make resolutions, but so many factors are beyond our control. The economy, deployments, orders, our health, the future -- with so many unknowns, how can we guarantee happiness in the coming year?
Simply put: we can't.
However, in my little house-wifey world of dust bunnies, freezer burn, minivan odors, and doggie doo bags, there are literally hundreds of things I control every single day that have an impact on the well-being of not only me, but my entire family.
This new year, instead of resolving to lose that same stubborn 10 pounds I've lost and gained for the last 30 years, I'm making a list of a few small, manageable things I can reasonably accomplish every day. Just like the tiny folks who captured Gulliver, Chinese water torture's infuriating droplets, and the industrious Oompa Loompas, sometimes the little things make all the difference.
Sure, I'll start with getting enough sleep, drinking more water and all that jazz. But there are other unexpected daily goals that may just be the keys to true happiness...
1. Wear comfortable underwear.
Ever had one of those days when your knickers keep inching up? When no one is looking, you dig your skivvies out of your crevasse, but they creep back in. The constant wedgie adds a subtle undertone of discomfort to your day, making you grumpy.
This may not seem like that big of a deal, but think about it. When you're grumpy, you snap at your boss. When you snap at your boss, he fires you. When you get fired, you go broke. When you go broke, you are definitely not happy.
See how that works?
It doesn't matter if you prefer the near-commando feel of a thong, or the maximum coverage of cotton briefs -- wear comfy undies if you want to this to be a good year.
2. Install a new showerhead.
Does your showerhead emit a wimpy trickle, making it difficult to lather, rinse and repeat? Do you dare to condition, only to find it impossible to rinse out? Do you spend the rest of the day feeling greasy and lacking self-confidence?
When you lack self-confidence, you can't decide what to cook for dinner. When you can't decide what to cook for dinner, you make chicken nuggets. When you serve chicken nuggets for the third time this week, your spouse gets annoyed. When your spouse gets annoyed, you argue. When you argue, he sleeps on the couch. When he sleeps on the couch, you are not happy, and neither is he.
So dash to your nearest hardware store, and find a showerhead with a water output similar to that of a regulation fire hose. The therapeutic massaging action of the pelting water will blast away stress, tension, troubles, soap, conditioner, and sometimes the first layer of skin. Regardless, you will emerge clean, refreshed, and ready to face the year with confidence.
3. Attain digestive regularity.
Have you ever had one of those days when your pipes are clogged? Do your intestines occasionally go on strike? Does your digestive tract stubbornly maintain a holding pattern, hovering with no landing scheduled on the flight plan?
Let's face it -- if the "magic" doesn't happen, you feel full, heavy, lethargic, bloated. When you feel bloated, you're irritable. When you're irritable, you yell at other drivers when they cut you off. When you yell at other drivers, they stop to give you a piece of their mind. When they give you a piece of their mind, you swat them with your purse. When you swat them with your purse, you get arrested. When you get arrested, you are not happy.
Eat leafy greens, guzzle copious amounts of coffee, get new reading material for the bathroom -- do whatever it takes to convince your nether regions to declare a truce. Succeed in attaining digestive regularity, and you will face the challenges of this year with a cheerful spring in your step.
In all seriousness, I'm sure that none of us will end up broke, on the outs with our spouses, or in jail in the next twelve months. Nevertheless, if we want to be happier this year, we need to remember that sometimes, it's the little things in life that make the biggest difference.