I’m a total, unapologetic optimist. Of course, I’m an INFP, so that’s not totally surprising. It drives my ESFJ husband nuts sometimes, but I’m confident he’ll come around eventually. (<– see what I did there? #optimism.)
Pollyanna was a favourite movie of mine as a child. The young character had a significant amount of trials and hardships in her young life, yet was determined to play “The Glad Game” that her father taught her before he died, with the sole aim of “finding something about everything to be glad about.”
The author of the book (which became a movie in 1960) received criticism for her portrayal of an unfettered optimism thought to be naive or blind. It’s the age-old wrestling between the realist, pessimist, and optimist streams of thought.
Eleanor E. Porter, the author, defended her heroine, saying, “I have never believed that we ought to deny discomfort and pain and evil; I have merely thought that it is far better to ‘greet the unknown with a cheer.'” (Source)
Personally, I believe that The Glad Game offers the key to a more contented life. To this end – Pollyanna has indeed left her mark on my life in a most remarkable manner.
I have witnessed in my own life that the hardships and tough seasons of life ebb and flow in our modern, digitally lives just as they did a century ago, but one simple thing remains as the chief determining factor in our happiness: perspective.
The Glad Game can help with that.
I could write a thousand words on the hard stuff in my life right now, but what use is that without also acknowledging the good? Without finding something about everything to be glad about? Maybe not right away, especially in times of deep sorrow or pain. Certainly not in a trite or careless way – not at all.
In tousled-out perspective. We can find it.
When Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy posted a list at the beginning of the month of the “things that are saving her life right now,” I thought it was brilliant. And it reminded me of The Glad Game.
I don’t know about you, but I adore readings posts like that from my favorite writers. Fortuitously, then, a couple of other faves went and shared their own “saving my life” lists. Tsh shared hers at The Art of Simple, and then Stephanie shared hers on EntreFamily. Accordingly, I was inspired to jot down my own list, and share it with you.
Let’s play The Glad Game together?
Let’s acknowledge that while we may not know what comes tomorrow, we can certainly “greet the unknown with a cheer.”
10 Things That Are Saving My Life Right Now (The Glad Game)
1. House hunting
We met with a real estate agent yesterday, and it was so symbolic to me. We’ve moved 14 times in under 13 years of marriage, and to say that we’re longing for some deeper roots would be an understatement of mammoth proportions. Our kids have lived in more houses than the number of years they’ve been on this earth.
When we moved to Ottawa it was such a fast turnaround that we had to rent. But this summer, we’ll buy a house and move in, and we’ll move again approximately NEVER. (Ok, probably not literally. But anything over 5 years sounds like forever with our history, so…)
The tender little bit of hope for some more permanent roots for our family is 100% saving my life right now.
2. Wool-lined slippers
In the summertime, I’m barefoot as much as possible – at home, around the neighbourhood, etc. But the Ottawa winters have 4-feet-of-snow and sub-zero temps sort of weather, so warm feet are a must.
I got these slippers for Christmas, and they are DIVINE.
3. Argan oil + blissoma moisturizer
I do product reviews from time to time here at R&H, and as you can imagine – not all products end up becoming long-term faves. However, the argan oil that I raved about three years ago still saves my life on a daily basis – the stuff is amazing.
I also added some Blissoma products to my routine last year, and they’re just so delightful. I’m a lifetime fan of both companies – especially with winter dry skin.
4. Snow + sun (instead of dead grass + overcast)
Different parts of Canada vary widely in their climates. While some parts have milder temps and less snow in the winter, they also endure endless grey days without seeing much sun.
I’m grateful that I live in a city where there’s enough snow to really play in and enough sunshine and blue skies that I need to remember to keep sunglasses in the minivan year-round.
5. School for the kids
I never thought I’d be the public school mom. I even wrote a post about it. But I learned not to take my own plans too seriously when I realized that putting aside our homeschooling dreams was the best thing for our family.
Right now, I’m gratefully focusing on the numerous benefits and perks of being public schoolers – the tight-knit community, the incredible teachers that champion my kids, and the daily diversity that they’re exposed to, both in terms of people (our city is so beautifully multi-cultural), and in terms of learning (my 7-year-old boy has wonderful exposure to the arts in his regular curriculum, including visual arts, drama, and dance, which I’m thrilled about.)
6. More sleep
Kicking my stay-up-too-late habit has profoundly changed my life for the better. I know, I know – I’m prone to hyperbole. But this is legit, and I’m unbelievably grateful to myself for making this change.
(You can do your own 21-day Go-to-Bed Challenge with free daily email encouragement. Sign up for the free emails here.)
We were never any good at budgeting. Not at all. Especially during our most cash-strapped times – it was far too demoralizing to look at the numbers in black and white each month when the bottom line was always red, no matter what. Not budgeting probably made things even harder, but it felt easier to ignore it at the time.
Now that we’re making enough to pay the bills, we’ve started tracking things again. I’m bound and determined to pinch every penny I can this year to pay off all of our debt.
Budgeting has become shockingly fun. (Who am I?!?)
After falling head over heels for Lorelai Gilmore and basically all of Stars Hollow in its entirety, I decided to give NBC’s Parenthood a whirl. (This poster on Etsy would make my life so complete, but I haven’t bought it because of the previously aforementioned penny-pinching.)
It’s a ridiculously brilliant show. I am especially appreciating the insightful portrayals of big feelings in common family life situations, and my inner empath is going beserk, tearing up at every other scene.
In the fall, winter, and spring, I wear a lightweight scarf all day, every day. When I leave the house, I layer a heavier knit scarf on top.
It feels like a perpetual hug, and it makes me so unreasonably happy. It’s the little things, I guess? Scrolling down this page makes me all warm and tingly.
10. Brownies, of course
When Chris went to Alabama last week to fly loop-de-doo’s* in airplanes, I solo parented for 7 days and 7 nights. I’ve had a lot of experience in this department, so I knew what needed done: brownies.
I made my grandmother’s brownie recipe – modified to be gluten-free, and using coconut oil because I’m toying around with going dairy-free, too. (No, I haven’t shared the recipe yet – I’m still working on replacing the white sugar with natural sweeteners. Once I’m satisfied with the modifications, I’ll share.)
They were just the reward I needed each night after the house was finally quiet and the dishwasher was humming away. (Except that the pan only lasted 4 nights. So sue me.)
*Not the technical aerobatic term, apparently.
So there you have it. These are the little things with mighty magical powers, helping me ‘greet the unknown with a cheer.’
In a cold and snowy winter, when my husband goes out of town, or works late, and we’ve living in our 13th or 14th home, and I’m battling adrenal fatigue that tries to suck the life out of me, and the kitchen faucet breaks, and nobody can find clean socks three days in a row…
I play The Glad Game.
And it saves my life.
Create oneself a separate mail account for notifications.
My New Years resolution was to play the glad game this year. When I mention it – no one has any idea what I am talking about! It was amazing to read your post.
We recently moved from MN to CA, our oldest started college, my mom has had health setbacks, our dog passed away…the glad game has pulled me through…it has helped me to try to see positives instead of going straight to the negative or wallowing in sadness and grief.
Just a huge thank you and God bless you! The sleep challenge has changed my life in more positive ways than I could ever express! Suffice to say, God used you to change my former bad bedtime habits into a life of unexpected joy! Thank you, thank you, thank you!?
Oh my gosh – this is AWESOME… thanks for sharing! You’re rocking this… keep it up! xo
I am 69, and have faced some very difficult situations in my life, including being diagnosed with cancer (totally cancer free now). I can look back and see that every one of the difficult things that were so devastating at the time actually were blessings in disguise, and led to amazing and wonderful results. I have such peace now, knowing that if I do my best, everything will be fine. If that makes me a Pollyanna, I will gladly claim the title. I cannot imagine living any other way.
Right now I have one huge glad that’s dragging me through things. Our next door neighbor’s house burned, and my husband and I weren’t able to get their two girls out. They were home alone and died in the blaze, and we’ve been a wreck since.
The happy? Our house is untouched by the fire. Not even smoke stains. Not even bent shingles from the flying debris. The neighbor on the other side has serious damage, but I stand and look at the fire side of our house daily, marveling at its pristine state.
We wrote a letter to the parents, happy memories of their daughters, and that was a glad too because it helped overwrite worse memories so that we could focus on better things instead.
Otherwise, library books. I love me some library books!
And job prospects. Am I the only one who enjoys looking for jobs?
Cuddles with my husband at night, dog at our side. 🙂
And successful Gluten Free baking! Gluten Free on a Shoestring has been a huge help for me. 🙂