Start Each Day by Waking Up Delighted to Be Alive.

Mornings With Minjay Lessons Michelle Chahine Sinno

On the occasion of Minjay’s sixth birthday, I’ll be sharing a special, short series this week on the lessons he has taught me over the past six years. These are condensed versions of longer essays that I’m working on. I hope to one day put them into a book to share with others who don’t get to spend as much time as I do with the happiest dog in the world… (In fact, that was an impetus for starting this blog, as a forum to define and get my ideas out, as a first step to putting together a book of all his wisdom. More on this soon!)

But first, today’s lessons on happiness:

Sit down on the grass. Let me chew my stick. What is the hurry?

Lessons from Minjay Michelle Chahine SinnoThis lesson is very much in line with my post from last week. I learned this one evening in the park around sunset. For some reason, I was in a hurry to get home. But it was a beautiful evening, and there was just no reason to be in a rush. Minjay planted himself on the grass with a stick and forced me to slow down, plop onto the grass like a kid, and sit there, enjoying the sunset and the light wind.

Start each day by waking up happy to be alive.

Every morning, every single morning, Minjay wakes up with such joy, energy, and a wide, loud smile on his face. And when we wake up, he’s delighted to see us so we can start our new day, with all its adventures, together. Every single morning.

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Taking the Time to Plan

Central Park Fall New York

Taking a few minutes, spread out over a few days, to plan can go a long way.

One thing that contributes to a lack of work-life balance is how far away I live from a lot of the people I love. I’m sure it would be much easier to find that ever-elusive balance if I could meet one of my sisters for frozen yogurt after work, or meet my cousin for coffee before getting to the office.

Alas, I can’t do that. Over the last three years, I’ve lamented that I don’t get to see them unless we’ve planned elaborate trips that are usually once a year.

I often tell them, I wish I could just pop over and have meet you at Starbucks or have dinner with you.

Then, it came to me, why not do just that? Why does it have to be so elaborate? Why don’t I just choose a weekend, book a plane ticket, and fly to see them, even if it’s barely for 48 hours?

The answer is: Because it takes some planning. Buying a last-minute plane ticket is hugely expensive, and flying across the country does take some management. So by the time I realize fully how much I miss them and want to spend time with them, it’s too late to do something about it. And so often in our busyness, and in “the haze” we get lost in during our everyday lives, we forget to plan.

051215_4142Earlier this fall, I called up my sisters and cousin and asked for a weekend we could all meet in NY (they’re all on the East Coast), planned my schedule, and bought a ticket.

And last weekend was so simple. I left work, took an Uber to the airport, got on a train, and voila—  I got a bonus weekend in New York, dressed in all its holiday splendor, with some of my favorite people in the world. And it just took a little bit of effort, a few emails and phone calls, and a little bit of planning ahead. It revealed to me how much is possible, if time to plan is prioritized.

I love Christmas in New York, and in previous years I’d get to December and get the pangs of memory. Not this year, because I took just a bit of time in September to plan, and I’m so grateful.