As a little girl, I had the same cliché dreams of fame and fortune versus a house and husband, 2.5 children, a dog and a yard with a white picket fence…
Jump frames on the DVD of my life: it is May 14, 2007 and I have just given birth to a beautiful 7lb 1oz baby girl after 12 hours of un-medicated labor. Despite all the trials and tribulations in my life leading up to that point, when they put this tiny piece of my heart on my chest I said, “Oh my god!” and sobbed tears of happiness.
Jump ahead a few more frames and it is October 31, 2007. Again, much had happened leading up to that day—good and bad—but as I looked into the eyes of my one and only true love and said, “I do!” those same tears of joy came welling up. He had given me the most wonderful gift—a surprise wedding!
Having struggled with a bi-polar personality all my life, it is hard to define precisely what makes me happy in any given moment. However, in the past year I have acquired two things that certainly do: a loving husband who is random and spontaneous and a beautiful daughter who is growing and learning before my very eyes.
I could spend my entire life live struggling érgá gaudium—towards happiness, but what is happiness? A poem of mine states, “Happiness is fleeting/when you lack the will of succeeding./If you are trying to fly/on lent set of wings,/then you are trying too high,/cause you will fall for things./I always fall for things.” In other words, if superficial things or the need for a plethora of fair-weather friends makes you happy, then you are likely not going to sustain happiness.
However, it has come to my recent attention that there are things that make me happy. I started out by making a list, but I began to realize two things. The first is that my list would be endless, and the second is that my list actually represented categories. I discovered that I enjoy life. A certain aspect of that is nature, in both the sense of human nature and physical nature. Human nature, for me, is the need for love, recreation, and success, in no particular order. I enjoy the love of my family and friends, especially my husband and daughter. However it is also important to take the time to love myself, even embracing my inner child. Recreation, for me, is the need for amusement, the fine arts, and good food. Success for me means a lot of different things, but it all starts with the empowerment that comes from knowledge. Communing with nature is pretty self explanatory; the time we spend enjoying the world around us, as well as contemplating the sky above us.
human nature: love, wrapping and unwrapping presents, sending or receiving an email, visiting strangers in a hospital or care home, family, keeping in touch with relatives, my handsome husband, true love, our happy marriage, kissing him, getting caught under the mistletoe, making love, our daughter, her company, chasing her around the house, her laughter, her smile, the look on her face when she finally understands a new concept, baby babble, friends, talking on the phone, true friendship, myself, lazing away on a Sunday afternoon, health, losing weight, a good night’s rest, being skyclad, a bubble bath, embracing my inner child, a game of Tetris, riding a bicycle, going for a swim, Barbie dolls, recreation, amusement, roller coasters, laughter, clowns, the arts, seeing a favorite movie AGAIN, seeing or reading, “The Color Purple,” watching one of the “American Pie” movies, art, poetry, music, attending the ballet, attending the Opera, being able to sing along to a favorite song, dancing no matter how much I suck at it, Two-Stepping, good food, a pleasant aroma, hot apple pie, buttery popcorn, chocolate, boysenberry jam, cotton candy, mangoes, eating deer meat, that tangy zip of Miracle Whip, Dr. Pepper, chicken fettucini alfredo, success, financial security, reliable transportation, a roof over my head, warmth in the winter, a barbed wire fence, knowledge, a good book, keeping up with current events, college education, being able to say, “I have completed my homework,” good grades, communing with nature, a trip to the zoo, enjoying a sunset, stargazing, a shooting star, wishing upon a star, flowers, long stem roses, Robin Redbreast, riding a galloping horse bareback, seeing snow, the first winter snowflake, watching a thunderstorm, seeing a deer, a summer breeze, puppies
I suppose happiness varies from person to person, but it is my experience that if you work hard at it, you can find happiness in the most mundane of daily activities. I do not need to win the lottery, or drive a Mercedes Benz, or hang out with Yoko Ono; what I really need in life is everything I already have. It is like Sheryl Crow says, “It’s not having what you want;/it’s wanting what you’ve got.”
Life makes me happy; more specifically, to have my husband and my daughter in my life. This is a natural high that will last me well into my senile senior years. Now if only I could wipe out my mental negativity…ah, but that is a story for another time.
Sheryl Crow–My friend the communist holds meetings in his RV. I can’t afford his gas, so I’m stuck here watching TV. I don’t have digital. I don’t have diddly squat. It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got.