100 Things That Make Me Happy

I recently read a blog about recognizing the little things. The things that may seem insignificant to others, but to you they mean the world and make you smile. I thought maybe if I wrote my own list, I could come back to it every now and then and read the list if I’m having a bad day or need a lift in my spirits.

1. Family.

2. Nailing the perfect cup of coffee.

3. When my boyfriend gives this crooked smile after he kisses me.

4. Harry Potter.

5. Making to do lists.

6. Conch shells.

7. The earthy smell of a hike, when it runs along a creek.

8. The good, healthy feeling of eating a fresh, clean tasting salad.

9. Friendly, engaging neighborhoods.

10. Drawing.

11. Hearing your favorite song, right at the moment you needed it.

12. Making a strangers day.

13. The smell of a campfire still on my clothes the next day.

14. Putting on soft, freshly cleaned clothes when they are still a little warm.

15. Days that I decide to pamper myself.

16. Watching the sunset and boats on the bay in Ocean City, New Jersey.

17. Fishing and camping memories with my dad.

18. Trips to Moosehead.

19. The smell of puppies.

20. Walking.

21. The silly way my boyfriend and I speak to each other, but only around each other.

22. Shark Week.

23. The smell of low tide.

24. The sound of church bells.

25. My cousin Declan’s laugh.

26. Large, puffy clouds.

27. Seeing a deer close by, looking it straight in the eye for a few moments before it runs off.

28. The cool feel of bedsheets when I’ve just shaved my legs.

29. Pizza and a good IPA.

30. The feeling of getting a little sun (but not a burn) on my skin after a long day swimming in the ocean, and that first shower you take to wash off all the sand and salt water.

31. Fresh tomatoes from a garden.

32. Building drippy sand castles.

33. Catching up with old friends like it was just yesterday.

34. A refreshing shower, and a glass of wine after a tough day.

35. My coworkers bright spirit.

36. Flip flops.

37. Crunchy, fall leaves and colors.

38. Handing out candy in my neighborhood on Halloween, with a blanket and pumpkin beer, talking with all my neighbors.

39. Hotel shampoos and conditioners.

40. Lawn seats.

41. Dressing up in costumes.

42. A clean and bright home, when everything is polished and shining.

43. Mexican food.

44. Bubble baths.

45. Football games.

46. Singing in the shower.

47. The first few moments after you have finished a good book, and need to take it all in, and just want to start it over.

48. The scalp massage when the stylist washes your hair. 


50. The realization that I’m at #50 and it’s actually taking me some real effort to recognize lots of other things that make me happy, and smiling every time I think of a new one.

51. White roses.

52. Applying chapstick.

53. Getting my nails done.

54. Game nights with friends.

55. Weddings.

56. Trying the stuff I find on Pinterest, even if I fail at it.

57. When my boyfriend hugs me from behind, while I’m cooking dinner or doing dishes.

58. Sleeping with a fan on.

59. Bike rides.

60. Sunday mornings, when Mike is still asleep and I have a couple hours to myself, enjoying some coffee and watching Say Yes To The Dress. (Or as he calls it – my “girlbage” hahahah)

61. The sound of a waterfall.

62. Double rainbows.

63. Thrift store shopping.

64. Anna Mae’s breakfast pizza.

65. When I apply winged eyeliner perfectly on both eyes.

66. Watching troops surprise their loved ones with a return home.

67. Back rubs.

68. Flipping my pillow to the cooler side.

69. Hearing stories of married couples who have been together their whole lives and still just as in love with each other.

70. Writing my blogs, and hopefully reaching at least one person. 

71. Lighting candles.

72. Barbecues.

73. Summer rain.

74. The smell of sunscreen.

75. Latte art.

76. Chalkboard menus.

77. Laughing so hard it hurts your stomach and brings you to tears.

78. A really good nights sleep.

79. Flannel shirts and leggings.

80. Mason jar crafts.

81. The sigh after the first sip of hot coffee.

82. Accomplishing a goal you set for yourself.

83. Beating my boyfriend at Nintendo games.

84. When Diesel, my friend Ally’s dog, howls. 

85. When I have absolutely zero smudges on my glasses!

86. Hugging my coworkers and seeing the look of relief on everyone’s faces on the last day of work before our holiday shutdown.

87. Happy hours with Cathy.

88. The smell of honeysuckle.

89. Infinity scarves.

90. Pineapple upside down cake. (I’m a little shocked that my favorite food didn’t get remembered until 90)

91. Accomplishing a whole to do list.

92. Stained glass.

93. Rainbow sushi rolls.

94. Irish blessings.

95. Butterflies.

96. Those days that you do nothing but just binge watch your fav shows in your pajamas all day.

97. Seeing a blue bird or cardinal.

98. A comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup when you don’t feel well.

99. Smiling for no reason at all.

100. Sharing the things that make me happy.

I have a need to dive deep.

I have a need to really start sharing my story with people. I have a need to really get awareness out there because of HOW LITTLE IS UNDERSTOOD ABOUT THIS CONDITION AND HOW ANGRY THAT MAKES ME. Sorry for shouting, just..when you make some calls to doctors and you consistently get replies like “I guess we will see if this works” or “there’s not really much we can do about that” or you tell people how/what you’re feeling and they look at you like they don’t believe you or appreciate the seriousness of how it’s affecting you, you tend to get a little mad.

It’s been months, I know. I’ve been wanting to write the whole time, but I think I’ve been scared to admit to some of my feelings, and I’ve wanted to give my estrogen patches time to work up in my system before I start laying blame or not laying blame on them for my emotions as of late. 

Spoiler alert – I blame them. I’m staring to think I’ll never find the right HRT. I thought it was helping at first. But I’m not sure.

Also, my job has been incredibly stressful for a while and it’s been intensifying my symptoms, esp my moods. In my support groups, a lot of topics have been covered in recent weeks, and I want to bring them to light here. Because early menopause is not just the almighty hot flashes and sweating in bed that most people immediately picture. So I’m gonna go for a nice hike today, think about some of the feelings I want to get out, and tap them out later tonight with a glass of wine.

Stay tuned!

Well, I never did go for that hike because of weather, unfortunately. So instead, I angrily cleaned all day..and I’ve had a few glasses of Reisling..so forgive me if I don’t make sense occasionally or misspell words. 

My world has been crumbling for awhile and I don’t know how to piece it back together. I thought I had a hold on all of this and I am so far gone. I pretend in front of my family, and friends, and acquaintances, that I feel like I have something to offer. When I even GET the courage to go to get togethers, I feel insignificant inside. Everyone I know has children. Everyone I know is completely and utterly adored by their husband or boyfriend, and mine barely even touches me anymore. Everyone I know seems to have their life mapped out, and I’m just floating in my semi-menopause.

I call it semi-menopause because of course my body can’t even get that 100% right. Premature Ovarian Failure isn’t a normal menopause because your body can still experience a period. Your body still has a 1-5% chance of spontaneous pregnancy. Semi-menopause because here I am, experiencing a “phantom period” I think for the second day in a row. So I get cramps and spotting and acne and bloating and a bad mood, but really it’s all brought on by my progesterone and not my brain signaling a real period.

My body has no control over itself. It’s not just the periods. The emotional toll this has taken on me is beyond words. I obviously experience hot flashes when and where they please. I sweat all the time, not just at night. I suffer from headaches constantly. With those flashes comes an obscene amount of “fight or flight” adrenaline. I don’t sleep well, even with unisom. When I sleep, I dream terrible things. I dream of infants, of pregnancy, I dream that my boyfriend has cheated on me, finds someone else who can have children, finds someone who is more attractive and sexy, and isn’t experiencing menopause at 31. Her bones aren’t weakening. She has the energy of her real age. I dream of past relationships, and the families they have now started. Some with multiple children.

I feel like I have nothing to offer, all the time. (Except at work. I am damn good at my job, I love what I do and it’s the only time of my day that I feel like I am meant to be there, doing what I do.) And then I leave and come home, and all the negative stuff I dream of comes back to me. And then at the same time, with all these hopes and dreams I have…I feel UNCOMFORTABLE around children, and moms. I feel WEIRD around married couples because I feel like I don’t belong in their world. I want to SCREAM when people tell me there’s always adoption or IVF.

No, there’s not. 

Adoption doesn’t fix my broken ovaries or inability to biologically have children. IVF doesn’t always work, and both are extremely and disgustingly expensive. Neither one of them are a bandaid for the real issue here.

I just wanted to have my own child, who looks like me, who has my beautiful red hair, and freckles, who I could name Penelope or Desmond or Oliver like I always planned, ever since I was a little girl.

I feel like I am in this weird detached state from everything. Like I don’t belong. Lately I can’t get out of this funk and I don’t know how to fix it. I take my hormone replacement therapy every night at 7:30 and I wonder if it really even makes a difference. I get to do this for the next 20 years and I don’t feel any different than I did the day I got this fucking diagnosis. I try to lie to myself about how somewhere out there, there’s some little baby or kid waiting to call me Mom. 

I hate that people don’t know or understand what I’m feeling. I hate that when I do tell people what’s going on, they minimilize it..or look at me like I’m crazy..or tell me they totally know what I’m going through with my hormones cause, “they like, totally have bad cramps” too. 

I hate that I can’t even paint a picture of this condition. That I’m always exhausted and want to sleep. That I’m always self conscious about my redness and sweating, my breakouts, my quickly drying and translucent skin, my brittle and damaged hair that sometimes falls out. That my estrogen patches make me itch and I can’t get the stupid glue off for like three days after I remove it. That sometimes it actually takes every fucking ounce of energy I have left in my body to pick up a gallon of milk at work. Or if I make the silliest mistake or spill a cup of water or can’t get my hair in a bun to my liking, I actually do feel like nothing inside. And I never would have felt this way about myself before this. That for the life of me I can’t lose the weight I’ve gained from me medication, no matter what I do. There is so much MORE to this condition than hot flashes. I feel so small. I feel like I don’t know how to get people to listen or understand me. I feel like my boyfriend hates me sometimes, because I don’t always like to be touched. I feel like people don’t believe me when I tell them my situation, because I’m not 53 years old. I feel weird when people want me to hold their baby. I feel odd around other kids, because I don’t feel like I have a “mom” gene. I get angry when I hear people say you’ll never understand real love until you have a baby and become a mother. Or how moms are just super humans, because of just that, they are moms on top of everything else. How goddamn unfair is that?! 

I’m scared of this medication. I’ve been tempted to stop HRT because of the side effects I think I experience from it because without it I’m at risk for osteoporosis and cardiovascular issues. And on it? I’m at risk for breast cancer and I think uterine or endometrial cancer. I can’t even keep track. At the beginning of my diagnosis stage I also was told I had “minor” Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. So not enough for [even more] medication, but enough of a red flag to need to keep that in check. 

Also, I hateeeeee taking medication. Hate it. I hate swallowing pills.

I am just so tired right now. Tired of feeling the way I do. Tired of feeling insignificant or like I don’t measure up. And not just to everyone else but to myself. I have never felt more raw and real from this damn condition than I do right now and I have no idea how to begin fixing it. I just want people to hear me. I want doctors to hear me. I want scientists to figure this one out. I want people to stop questioning why I haven’t gotten married yet and why don’t I have kids yet.

I want to feel my age. Inside and out.

I want to write blogs about happy things.

I want you all to share this because it needs to be shared.