As Otto and I lay in bed last night, I poured out my frustration while he held my hand and listened. Because I have a nice life. Actually, no; I have a pretty wonderful life. And yet I struggle, daily, against my will and my common sense, with the ability to just be happy.
I still believe that—as I said once before—there is a certain arrogance in being unhappy when leading a good and blessed and lucky life. And to be clear, I’m not UNhappy. But I am not as happy as I could and should be, much of the time. Somewhere on my permanent medical chart I am officially diagnosed as being dysthymic, which I suppose gives me license to abdicate responsibility because hey, man, my brain chemistry is wonky, so, you know, not my fault.
But. I want more. More from myself, more from my life, more of my best self for my loved ones. What I have, already, is more than enough; what I need is to take that enough and appreciate it more.
So this was all on my mind before I clicked over, this morning, to Karen’s Love Thursday post, which in turn links to the I Am Enough Collaborative. It seems that I’m not the only person trying to balance “more” and “enough” and my place in the midst of both.
I believe that happiness is a choice. I further believe that maybe it’s more work for some people than it is for others. So maybe it’s a little more work for me; when have I ever shied away from working for something that matters? The truth is that I do work at this, daily. And sometimes I get tired and I work… a little less. The slacking off kind of creeps up on me. Say something justifiably frustrating happens, and I allow myself to get bent out of shape about it, and then it’s a slow downward spiral from there, because who wouldn’t get upset? I’m allowed!
The idea of so-called Gratitude Journaling has never appealed to me as a regular practice, because I fear that it would become perfunctory and routine and lose its efficacy. But sometimes I just need to stop and take inventory of the good. Like today. Stream-of-consciousness appreciation… GO; 10 things:
1) One of my new favorite things to do is hug Monkey and then try to pick him up while I’m hugging him. It used to be easy to swing him up into my arms. Now I’m lucky if I get him three inches off the ground before I gasp and drop him back down. He laughs the whole time. I wonder how it is possible that he’s grown so much this summer. It gives me hope in ways I dare not articulate.
2) This week we had homemade Cherry Garcia ice cream (from the Ben & Jerry’s cookbook, natch). I am trying to get back to eating healthily after a summer of slacking off, but this ice cream cannot be denied.
3) My local Mellow Mushroom just started serving gluten-free crust.
4) Yesterday Monkey and his BFF spent an hour on the phone, discussing who knows what. I wonder if his parents know how much I love that kid, and how thankful I am that our paths crossed.
5) Chickadee and I have some of our best conversation via Instant Messenger, one room apart. I’ll take it.
6) When I refer to Otto as my better half, I am telling the truth. The best part is that he makes me want to be a better person, every day.
7) While I was writing this list, a hummingbird came to feed on the tree right outside my office window. (I can’t recall having EVER seen a hummingbird here before.)
8) Day 4 of the new medication regime: Chickadee reports that she feels better than she has in months. The rash is gone in some places and fading/flattening in the worst spots. Insert cautious, quiet jubilation here.
9) Part of my whining last night was about missing my old friends. This morning one of them called to ask if she can come visit in a few weeks.
10) There is little in this world I find as intrinsically rewarding as sharing a bowl of popcorn with the dog. THAT is a great model for patience, appreciation, and bliss, right there.
And you know what? It IS enough.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. I hope you have enough.