Remembering that what makes you happy, may not make others happy.

I planned a trip for my birthday this year.  I love camping, and have great memories of camping as a kid.  I wanted to take my family camping so I planned a trip, rented a motor home, and packed my little heart out.  But what made me happy, didn’t work the same for my family.

I think the trip was doomed before we left the house.  My husband was in a foul mood, and my kids struggle with his anxiety.  It really seemed that he didn’t want to go, but we all piled in the car and off we went.  First, on the way, he realized that he forgot his bathing suit, and so did my youngest daughter.  Then, we made it to the place to pick up the motor home, and he hated it (he gets prickly now and then).  Nothing went right after that.  We got to our campsite, struggled through set up (hadn’t had a motor home before, so I planned for that but he didn’t).  Got everything set up, and by that time the trip was over.

I learned a lot about my family that day, and myself.  I have tried so hard to make new experiences for my kids to help them be well rounded, but what makes me happy, doesn’t make them happy.  Traveling with my husband is tricky, and his depression and anxiety sometimes get the best of him.   I try to overcome, and sometimes struggle in the process.  I don’t remember a trip for us that went  well, when my husband was with us.  It makes is really hard for my kids, seeing their father struggle, and harder for me trying to help them understand it’s not their fault.

As for me, I’m a therapist.  It’s my job to help people feel better, but I can’t do that for my family, or my husband( not that I haven’t tried).  I’m not sure what makes him happy, but camping isn’t it.  I am a glass half full type person.  I can be okay in any situation, but sometimes I forget that not everyone can do that.  Many of the people I see for therapy have issues that keep them from being able to see the glass half full.  I offer skills, review past success, and encourage positive thoughts, so when I try to help my family, sometimes I bomb.

Being happy for me is changing.  It used to be I was happy when others were happy, but that doesn’t work in my household.  Don’t get me wrong, I still try when it comes to my family, but not like I used to.  Taking the time to focus on myself has become important.  Giving myself permission to think about doing things for me, not for my family, is something I’m not very good at.  I have to think about things in a different way, and still do for my family, but also for myself.

Even though the camping trip was a bust, I still managed to have a good time.  My kids and I ate s’mores, we saw a movie, and I got to write this post, sitting outside the motorhome in the morning, in the peace and quiet.  I will take away good things from the trip, but that’s my own choosing.  Even though my husband didn’t like the trip, it was kind of what I remember about camping, and for me, that was the point.