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hap•pi•ness: noun. (or, how did I get here?)

October 21, 2010

The Captain asked me if I was happy.  With only the slightest hesitation (mostly so he wouldn’t think I was giving the knee-jerk response of the chronically unhappy), I said yes.  And we weren’t talking about a simple chocolate-cupcake-in-your-hand kind of happy, but a to-the-depths-of-your-soul kind of happy.  Why?  After my life took a number of twists and turns (neither uncommon nor unexpected), I find myself in a place where I am content: I love where I live, with whom I live, how I spend both my productive and my free time, and with whom I spend that time.  What makes the leap from contentment to happiness?  Me.

Happiness is in the mind of the beholder, it seems to me, and I behold nothing in my life to be really unhappy about.  Mostly good things have happened to me in the last few years, and I have reconciled all the not-so-good things from my past this way: if those things had not happened to me, then my experiences would have been different and I would be a different person now.  (Hold on to your seat, this is the kicker).  And I am happy with the person that I am.  I’m not perfectly happy with myself of course…I wish I had better posture, didn’t talk so loud when I get excited, had really learned French, and could ride a unicycle.  But overall I like who I am, and I like where I am in my life.

I didn’t really expect to get to this place in my life.  All my major role models growing up always seemed so…unhappy.  Not miserable, but always seeking something that was either a) not something that would actually make them happy, or b) totally impossible.  Or both.  I was pretty pessimistic when I was younger, but that may have been a teenage/college thing.  I called myself realistic, and listened to Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit REALLY loud in my car.  Things started to slowly change in college, or at least the seed was planted:

When I entered college a semester late (long story), I had really limited class options, so the counselor suggested I just fill my schedule with gen ed classes and figure it out after that.  Good plan.  One of those was a philosophy class, and I was hooked.  I was also hooked on doing well in my classes, which was not exactly my top priority back in high school.  So I had some focus (and a major!), and was enjoying the college experience to boot.  Then I had a tremendous Eureka! moment at the end of my third semester, when I told my dad that I had achieved my third consecutive semester of straight A’s.  His response?  “Well, now if you changed your major to something like math or physics, that would really be impressive.”

As I picked up the miniscule pieces of my self esteem off the floor, I decided that I was absolutely done trying to make anyone happy aside from myself.  This is actually still part of my personal philosophy, but it makes me very happy to make other people happy most of the time, so I don’t immediately appear to be the selfish bitch that I really am.  BUT I am happy that way, because I don’t totally rely on anyone else to make me happy.  Is this making sense?  It’s really late…

So rather than seeing happiness as something that happens to me, I go out and make my own happiness.  If you sit around and wait for happiness to fall in your lap, chances are pretty good one or more other, less pleasant things will fall in first.  Ugh.  I realize that not everyone is in a position to rush out, grab happiness by the horns and wrestle it down like some glittery unicorn in a steer wrestling contest. But you can always try to make the best of every situation while simultaneously trying to change it for the better.  Find contentment in your surroundings and happiness inside your own head. (I should write fortune cookies!)

So here it is, your moment of Zen:

5 second crying fit; I think she poked herself with the leaf.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 21, 2010 5:53 pm

    Amen, sistah!

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