Every Monday, I start my week by highlighting what made me happy from the previous week, because I believe we multiply what we focus on, and that gratitude is the first step in learning how to be happier.
The past week has been dynamic, with the feelings changing as quickly and dramatically as the scenery. We started the week hiking in Moab, Utah and ended it attending a funeral in Parkersburg, Iowa. In both places, as well as on the drive in between, we found reasons to be grateful and reminders that the time for counting blessings and pursuing happiness is now.
Before packing up and heading home, we spent one last afternoon in Arches National Park. It was a beautiful final adventure that challenged our senses, muscles, and minds. I will miss the rocks and deserts of the West.
Tuesday afternoon we began the long drive back to our family and friends, only to encounter car trouble a few hours into our trip. With a dead battery and no mechanic open, we pulled into a Kum & Go parking lot in Silt, Colorado. We were grateful that the Trailblazer held out long enough for us to get off the highway and that the staff at the convenient store was friendly and willing to let us squat on their property for the night.
The next morning, our car troubles seemed to have mysteriously disappeared – even a local mechanic was hesitant to replace any parts after numerous diagnostic tests came back normal. We hit the road again.
Five hours later we broke down for real on the side of the interstate. Jared used the RV battery to jump start the SUV (three times) so that we could get to a nearby mechanic, who assured us they’d get us fixed and back on the road within a couple of hours.
It seemed a bit surreal to be ending our trip the way it started – with car trouble. I hadn’t anticipated the bookends of our USA road trip to be local mechanic shops. This time, we were lucky to only be left waiting for a few hours and to get away with just a $300 fix (and a $5 bike helmet that Jared picked up at the nearby Goodwill while we were waiting.)
Finally, nearly 48 hours after beginning the drive and 10 months after starting our cross-country journey, we pulled into my mom’s driveway. Even though my mom was at work and I have never lived in her current house, I was still overwhelmed by the sense of security that always comes with being home. As wanderers, Jared and I are especially lucky to have a place and people that remain steady, always ready to welcome us back with open arms when we need respite.
After a night at my mom’s, we hauled the RV over to Jared’ parents’ house, where we began the overwhelming task of unpacking our life into their guest rooms. We’ll be staying with them for the next few months, which will give us the chance to catch our breath, regroup, and visit with family and friends before we make the move to our next home. I’m so happy they’re letting us stay with them and even more happy that I’m at a place in my life where the idea of staying with my in-laws doesn’t scare the crap out of me.
(OK, it scares me a little, but not too bad.)
For the first time in 10 months, I’m facing a new week with no immediate travel plans. I’ll have to keep my eye out for slower moving blessings to count.
What were the highlights of your week? Before you rush off into a new week, I invite you to play along and share your happiness highlights in the comments, or leave me a link to your own Happiness Highlights post.