Saluti! I am hesitant to say what I feel right now. After so many, many years of living on the edge of it, I think I finally feel it. Or maybe it’s the sunshine beaming on my forehead. I don’t know. But…here goes… I think I found my Happiness. I feel happy.
Now, let’s not mistake that for ‘life is perfect.’ Every dime that I earn is already owed out to somebody or some bill. I still don’t have enough money to pay all my bills, buy groceries AND put something away for savings. I have only two good pairs of shoes to wear each week. The ‘check engine’ light flashes for a while every time I turn on the car. I spent four days in bed crying out in pain from my costal chondritis flare-up. I don’t spend enough time taking care of the house the way I used to before I started working. The box of baby clothes that I wanted to gift to my friend in Italy is still in the closet – a year later. My energy level is always around 65% while the kids are at 107%. I still never get enough sleep or enough comfortable sleep at night. Since I switched jobs and work for an agency, we have no medical insurance again. My husband’s new business adds 1400 dollars of extra monthly debt – which we don’t yet have in the budget to pay. We’re still often one pay check away from losing it all…but I feel Happy.
The key to my happiness is not that everything in my life is going the way I want it to. It’s just that maybe I don’t want so much so enough is going ‘ok’ that I am content – even if it’s not enough according to someone else’s standards. Well, at least, I don’t have any bills in collection… We managed to sign a new lease on our townhouse for another year. Michael opened his custom design shop and he has great potential to be sole provider for our family in the future…yaay…we hope… (shameless plug: check it out: www.michaelijifashion.com www.michaeliji.com) I have a new job closer to home that gives me more time with the kids in the mornings and evenings. I feel less stressed in the morning and less exhausted in the evenings. If my car breaks down, I could actually walk home and get there before tomorrow. I started losing a little weight. I can actually see outside while I’m at work. It’s hospital quiet and I am learning so many new skills that I know will benefit me and others in the future. I am proud to be able to provide the necessities for the kids and for the house. I am sticking to my budget. I don’t carry a pessimistic view of life, believing that all I get is a lifetime of struggle and suffering and then I die. I have a solid and profound hope of something better. I am writing my own line of greeting cards. I still have hope that I will see one of my manuscripts to publication. One of my English students in Italy wants to study again via Skype. My son is finally using the potty all day – so we can scrap the pull-ups. Both kids are out of my bed and sleeping in their own room again. I just feel good.
I really think it’s the sun. The fact that I have sunshine in my day has brightened my mood and my outlook. I’m not stuck in too much rush hour traffic in the mornings and I have room in my brain to think. Oh, I still have my wants and my desires and my dreams, but I’m not chasing them. Maybe we spend so much time ‘pursuing’ what we want that we don’t take the time to appreciate and/or enjoy what we HAVE. Maybe that’s what I’m learning to do more of.
I always felt bad for not being happy, as if I was ungrateful for the good things that came to my life. But, I just always wanted a better life, with less problems and less struggles. And I couldn’t understand why I always seem to have the short end of the stick and the good never seemed to come to me. Now, I must be developing the wisdom of age because I can look back and see that there was good mingled in there, but I was speeding by it so fast in pursuit of ‘something better’.
Don’t get me wrong, I have definitely enjoyed living. I’ve eaten tuna steak out a tinfoil in Johann Strauss Park in Vienna; I’ve strolled through history in Budapest; I’ve hunted for conch shells in Jamaica; I’ve dined on Lebanese cuisine in Toronto and gotten stuck under a bridge on a gondola ride in Long Beach. I’ve been between the earth and the stars on a late night flight to Verona; drew my name in the sand in Myrtle Beach and Daytona; lay down in the street and taken an ant’s view of skyscrapers in the early morning sky in Nebraska. I shared a 4 day bus ride to California at 16, pulling together every word of Spanish I’d learned in high school to converse through two states with a toddler who thought everyone naturally spoke her language. I’ve planted trees and gardens, rescued animals, help lay groundwork and build structures; climbed hilltops and mountainsides…and so many more incredible experiences that just don’t often come to a girl from Detroit’s east side. But, I have had to look back at these events to appreciate them and recognize the privilege that has been my life. In doing so, how can I lament about any current disappointments? Another person may be happy to have just one of my memories. So I am choosing to be happy and satisfied with my portion in life. Yes, it could absolutely be better, but it could also be so much worse.
So I’m 44 now. I don’t think I have any complaint cards left to cash in. It’s time to get the work finished so I can still have time to relish in the accomplishment. And I hope to be able to help somebody else that’s struggling. I don’t really know what’s gotten into me today. If it’s just the sun shining on me every day that brought about this change in my perspective, well turn it up!!