On the Pursuit of Happiness - and a Family Meeting

I haven’t been feeling like myself lately.

Mostly all I have been doing is working and travelling (mostly for work) and while I recognize challenging work that allows you to travel is a huge privilege, I also have been feeling a constant undertone of jet-lag and the lack of my own closet + community of friends. This has been leading to more-than-usual feelings of anxiety and depression. I haven’t been feeling very good, or been very pleasant to be around. (Sorry Kyle)

So we called a family meeting.

The McHowe Family Meetings Are Official AF

I really like our family meetings, they do a lot to help me with my goal setting and life priorities and joy level. We hold them about once a year or so, where we try to plan out the right now, as well as where we expect to be in the next 5 years.

We both recognized it was overdue, so we booked a day and time - out of the house so there wouldn’t be any chance that we’d end up sucked into American Vandal on Netflix (we went to the Tuck Shoppe on Union Street).

We set an Agenda. Shared it on Google Docs. When you are a nerdy family you’re just nerdy all the time.

The McHowe Family Agenda

  • Life priorities: work/life balance

  • Exercise and eating well

  • Career goals and aspirations

  • Travel plans

  • Friendship, family and community obligations + joys

  • Health and wellness

  • Family planning: (nobody get excited we are always talking about this it goes into the 5 year plans and we like to check in)

  • What makes us happy?

    • We left the budget and savings plans for another day as that seemed like it would be an entire family meeting by itself

The McHowe Family Action Plan

Here’s what we concluded.

When I look around the house and see all the beautiful photos of friends laughing, or parties thrown or sunsets or travels, or wedding invites or baby announcements or cards saying I’m loved - that’s what I want. When I look back on my life I want there to be unlimited photos of that, and limited photos of me going into a downward spiral of anxiety over whether a plumber for the new clinic I’m helping design is going over budget or not.

So how to do it?

Practically speaking I love a shared, colour-coded Google calendar. Kyle and I have one for social plans (so we can book things together or see where the other person is headed) one for my wedding weekends, one for travel, one for exercise.

We made a list of people we needed to see more often and contacted them and put them in the calendar.
I made appointments to see the doctor and got myself on a wait list for mental health services.
We made plans for making food, cleaning the house and looking after the dog.
We decided that we were both going to make sure we took time to do the things we love to do. That I’m going to blog and knit and craft. Kyle’s going to play squash at lunch and go to vote-watching parties. That we’re going to see our people and exercise and do the things that open you up to a world of beautiful moments.

So here I am again.

Trying to do the things that make me happy.