Maybe you already know this; but I didn’t. Happiness is a new one on me.
I do remember one time pre-breakdown that I was actively happy, and that was the day of my wedding. (Getting engaged was pretty good as well.) I remember it because the feeling was so novel that I noted it and wondered what it was. It was what I am feeling today, and felt yesterday, and usually now feel a few times a week.
So, from the perspective of a novice, here’s what happiness is:
1. One of two varieties: excited or content. Either is just fine.
2. Waking in the morning wanting something in the day enough that getting up is not an effort.
3. Being in the present, noticing what is going on and smiling at it.
4. Feeling lucky, so lucky, to be right in this place right now.
5. Not being scared of what’s going to happen in the next few minutes, or hours, or days (until I stop to think about it, and then of course I am scared).
6. Wanting to transfer this feeling to everyone I meet. Which means I walk along smiling at people and I say hello to people I meet, and neither of these things is an effort either.
7. Being content in my body; not hating it or trying to change it.
And why seven? Because seven is mystical perfection, and that is good enough for today. (Awww.)
As a child I was told that if I worked hard enough I could do anything. That had its downsides; I grew to believe that not achieving perfection in everything meant I was lazy and I therefore began a pattern of destructively hard working. But it also meant that life was within my control. I didn’t blame anyone else when I faced lack of opportunity; nor did I blame others when things went wrong.
The problem, it turns out, is that even by working myself brutally hard, I am unable to have certain things. Those things currently include my health, the career I wanted and was doing well at, the lifestyle I previously had, and the belief that life is fair.
That’s right. I used to believe that life was basically fair. I had sympathy for people who were in a less good place than me, but I did believe that working hard would bring improvements in people’s lot. I also believed I deserved my success because I had worked for it.
I no longer fully believe that. Continue reading “Life just isn’t fair”