Finding my smile again

Last week, I went to Hong Kong to find my smile. You see, I lost it when I arrived in Beijing from Boise, and experienced a very bad lonely “life really, really sucks” moment in my life. What happened to me???? I’m the one who always says “YES” and smiles and gets the job done. I’m the one who never complains because, really, no one wants to hear anyone whine…ever.  Poor Thom had to listen to me whine BIG time.  I’m the one who takes pride in supporting my family and values the great company I work for and the unique position I have been given to positively influence and impact lives.

Yet, this week, I found myself being very sad and frustrated. What kind of life is this? Why should I continue to work so hard when life is so short? I began to imagine what it would feel like to quit and move back home where everyone else is having a grand old time enjoying the clean air. It should be my turn to enjoy no responsibilities and have someone else take care of me before I die. Who needs money and medical insurance?? Forget that house I just bought in Boise or the business I want to launch with my daughter—other people get by on much less than I do and they have no stress whatsoever. They go for picnics, ride bikes, hang out endlessly at coffee houses and have friends.  All of a sudden, it felt like everyone was having fun but me.  I had lost my smile and it hurt.

So, taking a break to Hong Kong has been meaningful. Not only did I get to breathe in some badly needed clean air but I have had a chance to let go of the toxic self pity that infected my soul. I’ve always believed that no one can make you happy. You have to make yourself happy. I have to take better care of myself. No one makes me work as hard as I do-it’s self inflicted no doubt.  My health and happiness needs to take a front seat, not a back seat, from now on.

I’ve often gone years without a vacation due to my hectic work schedule and that can’t happen again, especially living so far away from everyone. So, in July, I’ll take a few vacation days to introduce Mia to her Great Grandma Gene and enjoy some Chicago time with my sister. My best friend, Patty, will come to visit us in China for a month in the fall with her hubby, Larry. No matter how busy I am, I will take time off to show her around my new hometown. I so appreciate them coming to visit. I booked my son James to visit for two months this summer, thrilling him to pieces with a day layover in Tokyo on the trip over. He’s been dying to see Japan and this will satisfy that itch. We will go to Hong Kong for a long weekend to renew his Visa when he hits 30 days in China. Having James with us will be so wonderful. He will have wonderful adventures with Thom all over China. While Hannah with her asthma shouldn’t visit us in China, I look forward to taking the whole family to Hong Kong or Europe in the years ahead. Little Mia will use her passport often to visit us and be a world traveler.  And, finally, Thom will return to China in July after being in the U.S. taking care of the purchase of our home in Boise.  Being apart for two months, I realize even more how much I love him and depend on him to be happy.  It has been a difficult separation and we’ll try not to let it happen again no matter what.  We’re in this adventure together and without him, it’s definitely not as much fun.

Our Hyde Park cottage in Boise.
Our cottage in Boise, where we will be for Christmas this year.

And, yes, WE ARE GOING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!  Just thinking of this in my future made me smile again.  It was sad last year being apart from Hannah and Mike, though we enjoyed having James with us in Shanghai. So I will save up two weeks vacation and go home to Boise, to our new home, to spend time with my precious family because, really and truly, family is the only thing that matters in life. Thank you, Hong Kong, for giving me back my sense of humor.  We all go through hills and valleys in life and it feels good to be back on top of the hill viewing life in a positive way again through the hazy (aka polluted) skies of China.WP_20140521_002



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