This has been the year of trying to find happiness. I suppose I misplaced it somewhere, along with half of my brain–and the me who weighed 12 pounds lighter 12 months ago.

If you’re wondering how a healthy 40-year-old woman with perfectly good taste, a cute (employed) husband and three sweet, healthy kids can’t manage to be happy, I’m with you. What a loser.

In trying to put my finger on it, a really good counselor and I methodically went over what transpired last year to catapult me into this funk. Here’s what we came up with:

  • My super sweet two-year-old turned into a fit-throwing, take-it-to-the-mat three-year-old.
  • My husband started new work that took him out of town a lot, bought a motorcycle and began talking about selling off most of our earthly possessions to travel around in an Airstream (along with aforementioned three-year-old).
  • My freelance work of the past eight years began dwindling left and right, which left me more time at home with aforementioned three-year-old.
  • And, in an appropriate response to my life, I began eating all the carbs I’d eschewed for the past year, hence the aforementioned 12 pounds. Sigh.

In a desperate attempt to bring back my mojo, Noah sent me to Europe for 12 days in May to visit friends living in London and Belgium. Little did those girlfriends know what sort of weepy mess was about to show up on their doorsteps. But then again, having to play counselor to your house guest while strolling the streets of London and Paris isn’t the worst thing in the world.

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OK, so I do look pretty happy here. That’s because I was. Paris is magical and I want to live there forever.

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Having high tea with a great friend, Erika, near her home in Surrey. This lodge was built in the 1500s by Henry VIII. Now you can go there to spend the night, get married–or carb load like I’m doing here.

And then, a tiny ray of light. Or a major kick in the butt. Either way, I became unstuck. What my husband had been telling me for a year suddenly sounded right when it came from my girlfriend, Polly.

“Hang up the phone right now,” she said after talking me off the ledge, again. “And find a counselor. Start looking and don’t stop until you find someone you can make an appointment with–TODAY!” Ok, I told her, I would do exactly that. And I did.

I also took a new job (I nearly made my friends in Europe crazy with my thoughts on taking a REAL job with actual work hours, a boss and colleagues). The structure and ability to get out of the house, I assumed, would be good for me. Turns out, it has.

Then I put our precocious three-year-old in school five days a week–something I’d not done with my two older kids until they were in kindergarten. Possibly my finest parenting move, ever. The child loves school so much (his teachers rave about how easy-going he is…are you kidding me?), I’m currently looking for a weekend program for him. Or maybe there’s a boarding school for preschoolers. Just kidding. Seriously.

Next, I took up yoga (if you’re on a wellness roll, why stop), which actually left me sore the next day. Either the instructor is really great or I’ve fallen out of shape yet again. Or both.

Last week, I turned 41. Noah gave me several books, one of which is a best seller by a lady named Gretchen Rubin. Maybe you’ve heard of it–The Happiness Project.

I hear you, babe–loud and clear. I’ve already started my own.