Up until a few weeks ago, my life looked something like this:

Work + half marathon training + teaching dance + yoga class + book club + activities for each kid + school event + meal prepping + cleaning + packing lunches + so much laundry + so many dishes + squeezing in significant people and checking my phone nonstop to see if I’ve forgotten something.

Most of these things are great. OK, not the cleaning and the meal prepping, but this why I now have a cleaning lady and a roommate who likes to cook.

But what’s missing on that list?

Relaxation.

Reading.

Netflix and chill.

Resting.

Writing/ journaling / meditation time

Travel.

Doing silly things with my kids.

Here’s what I realized: in the words of the wonderful Sarah V, I was crowding out my happiness.

It stems from my overachieving teenage years where yes, I was the child who did her homework before watching TV.

It stems from a slew of “Catholic guilt.”

It stems from eavesdropping on too many Dave Ramsey episodes where he tells people not to do anything fun until they can pay for it in cash, and not until they’ve saved up a good 6 months of emergency expenses first. I don’t know about you, but by the time that happens I will probably be too old and feeble to do ANYTHING.

It stems from, above all, fear.

I’ve been working on this fear thing lately with my therapist. One of the things we’ve developed is a risk list, or as I’m calling it, 37 before 37. And no, I’m not going bungee jumping. It’s things that I’m 99% sure I will enjoy that I have neglected doing out of fear. I will never, ever, enjoy bungee jumping.

Readers, it’s taken me almost 36 years to realize: I’ve been afraid of being happy.

I’ve used crowding out and overbusying myself because it was a great way to NOT think about what I would really like to do. And by not doing that, I could be unhappy and thus blame other people for my own unhappiness. That’s a really good recipe for a happy marriage, by the way (NOT).

So what’s on my list? I’m not going to share it in full just yet, but I will say if anyone knows a good tattoo artist who deals well with squeamish females, send him or her my way.

Here’s a few that I’ve crossed off:

Attend a rally or a protest.

Run a half marathon.

Have a heart-to-heart closure talk with my ex husband.

Let someone read this list.

Pierce my ears.

Go on a trip by myself.

Cook a meal for someone.

Part of the reason I haven’t been blogging lately plays into that. It felt like this space had become, like a lot of things, an area where I had to have a “purpose” to show off. My happiness fear (feariness?) thrives on that. It always asks me “what would people think if you told them you did absolutely nothing all weekend?”

My transformed self has two answers:

A. They’d think it sounds awesome

B. I think I just found risk #38.