Getting Back to Happy

Give Yourself the Opportunity to Be Happy

February 25, 2022

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

“This minute decide to never again beg anyone for the love, respect, and attention you should be showing yourself. Today, look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I love you, and from now on I’m going to prove it!’ When you practice self-love and self-care, you give yourself the opportunity to be happy. And when you are happy, you become a better friend, a better lover, a better family member, and a better you.”

—Marc and Angel Chernoff, Getting Back to Happy


This Is 27--Happy Birthday, Tank!

February 18, 2022

Though like all registered American Quarter Horses, Tank turned another year older on Jan. 1, his actual foal date is Feb. 18. For reference, a 27-year-old horse is roughly equivalent to a 78-year-old human. (And to answer the question nearly everyone asks, horses live an average of 25-30 years.) 

Tank is finally starting to show his age, though he’s still in remarkably good shape for an old guy. I’m currently working with his vet and farrier on a non-life-threatening lameness issue that is keeping me from riding him. Even so, we have had to turn him out alone in a smaller enclosure because he was goofing with the younger horses and galloping around like a maniac because of the cooler weather. He still gets plenty of grooming, carrots, and treats, and I’m going to look into alternate activities to do with him while he’s temporarily sidelined, and for when riding is permanently off the table. Maybe I can teach him to paint

At the end of this month, we will have been together for 18 years. I’d wanted a horse since childhood, and when my husband and I were contemplating relocating to Florida (his home state) from California (mine), he sweetened the deal by promising that I could have a horse if we made the move. I don’t think either of us really thought that would be possible, but I filed that promise away for many years until time and finances made it possible to consider. Tank has been one of the best investments of time and money I’ve made in my life.

Tank has been a friend and partner through adventures, he’s taught me lessons in patience, sacrifice, kindness and courage. During our rides, he’s helped me dig deep to conquer fear. I’ve learned to put aside my own comfort to give him what he needs when he’s sick or injured (twice a day visits to the barn to flush wounds or medicate eyes during the height of summer heat and humidity…). I’ve cried into his mane, and allowed the sound of him munching hay soothe the sore spots in my heart. We’ve gone on trail rides, explored different types of terrain and jumps at Fannin Hill Farm, and hit the water together at a lake and the beach. I’ve spent hours just hanging out with him while he grazes. And as a bonus, I’ve met some of my closest friends at the two barns where he has lived. I’ve written about our experiences many times here on Catching Happiness. A few highlights:

I wrote about the process of finding him for the AQHA’s member magazine: “Why, Yes, That Was Me in the December Issue of America’s Horse.”

I’ve “learned to speak horse” and hosted horse birthday parties.

I’ve imagined what it would be like “If My Horse Had an Instagram Account.”

I’ve learned so many life lessons along the way, like this one.

And I’ve shared some of our more mundane experiences in “Look Mom, No Cavities!” and “A Little Off the Top and Sides and…Belly.”

Here are a few photos from our time together. Happy birthday, Tank—thank you for all the simple pleasures and everyday adventures!

Fannin Hill

Our first day together

Beach boy

Experimenting with riding without a bridle

Ho ho horse

In his prime, with a shining summer coat

The two of us just hanging out

Summer 2021

Tank and Paloma, the first of his lady friends at our new barn
Contemplating life

On the trail

Happy New Year 2022

Cheer up

Link Love—Cheer Up Edition

February 11, 2022

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

The Internet can be a mixed blessing. It can entertain us, teach us, and keep us connected with our friends and family—and it can deal our self-esteem some crushing blows and contribute to FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Today let’s concentrate on how it can brighten up our lives! Since many of us have been struggling either with winter blahs or various other challenges related to staying positive, I thought I’d devote a Link Love post to some links I’ve found uplifting and encouraging lately. Be sure to share any of your discoveries in the comments below!

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s annual “10 Things Saving My Life Right Now” post is always a comfort. Be sure to read the comments, too.

I’ve listened to this piece several times since I read this story. It’s so beautiful and calming, and what an amazing accomplishment.

100 Ways to Improve Your Life Without Really Trying. The simpler the better! I do #20 several times a week, working on #57, and #78 is genius!

“The One Habit to Break to Find More Joy.” Ingrid Fetell Lee always has something thought-provoking to say.

Stories like this one help me remember that there are kind people in the world, and that small gestures can make big differences.

The “How Not to Be Grumpy” episode of the Soul + Wit podcast came at the perfect time. I picked up some suggestions to help me cope with the days that I feel less than *happy*. 

More music. Stunning cover of Stairway to Heaven performed by Heart:

Have a happy weekend!


My Depression Ate My Blog Post

February 07, 2022

The inspiration for the title of this blog post

Well, kind of. I missed my normal post day last week because I experienced a depressive episode. I’d been working on a post about mindset, focus, and expectations, and I just wasn’t able to finish and post it as I planned on Friday.

I don’t tell you this to ask for sympathy or make excuses. While I don’t want to dwell on them, I feel it’s important for us to be open about mental health struggles. I want Catching Happiness to be a place of uplift, peace, and inspiration. I want to contribute to the “happy” in the world, to offer encouragement, a positive attitude, and support to you, my dear readers and friends. I know we’re all facing our own challenges and troubles, and I believe we need to be real about how happy or unhappy we are, rather than ignore or gloss over what feels hard. 

Today is a better day. I’m leaning on the habits that (mostly) hold me together

Today is not as hard as Friday was. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Maybe, I’ll even finish that blog post about focus, mindset, and expectations! 

Note: Jenny Lawson, “The Bloggess,” writes extremely well about the condition of depression, and I especially enjoyed “Is Today Hard?” (post contains adult language).