4 day weekends are the best. Can every weekend be this awesome? Seriously. We didn’t “do” anything, but I feel recharged. Not so recharged that I *WANT* to go back to work, but enough that I feel good about life. And that got me thinking….I think I’m well adjusted. I think I’m…happy. And I don’t know what to do about it.
2 weeks ago yesterday, my best frienddog died. And it crushed me. But I understand fundamentally, within my bones and soul, that it was what he needed at that point. And so I’m OK with it. For the first time in my life, I’m not actively unhappy with my body. I have a routine that I’m happy with for exercise. It doesn’t involve making myself miserable, but it involves enough exercise that I can eat as much cheese as I want. I love my husband, and he loves me. We love our home, and we’re working on improving it within reason. I’ve gone through some failed attempts to advance at work lately, but I’m still fundamentally happy in my current position. We’re comfortable enough financially. Yeah, I’m not jet-setting, retirement by 40 isn’t going to happen, and I’ll probably never be a supermodel, but all things considered…I’m good. So now what?
Life’s different now than it was 20 years ago when my Mom was approaching 40. I’m not going to presume or make commentary on what her life was at that age, but what I know she didn’t have was social media. She didn’t have hundreds of opportunities to compare her life to those of everyone she’s ever met and judge herself accordingly. I’m presented with those opportunities every day, and while I try to remember Amy Poehler’s motto of “Good for her, not for me”, things sneak through. It’s easy to compare your exhaustive documentary to someone else’s highlight reel. But it seems more easy to remind myself that in most cases, no-in every case, it’s apples to oranges. You can’t quantify happiness. And even if you can, it’s not finite. Someone else’s bliss doesn’t reduce yours. Unless I find another human who likes to go for really, really long walks and then sleep a bunch, drink wine, pluck weeds from flower beds one by one, and cross stitch, how could I say who’s doing it better-and why would I want to? Why can’t we be happy FOR someone without measuring our response to their happiness in direct proportion to our own?
I think, currently at least, the answer is that I don’t. I want you to succeed. Whatever it is that makes you smile, I want you to excel at that. My current question isn’t so much about the ebb and flow of happiness among humans, but this: how do you be happy? For so long, I’ve had things to complain about. My butt’s too big, we don’t make enough money, I’m single and alone and I don’t want to be. When I turned 29, the biggest existential crisis of my life hit. Well, I’m 39 and I really don’t care anymore. I think by now, we’ve all accepted that whatever we thought our lives would be by now in our early 20’s most often bears no resemblance to our lives today. And that today is so much more awesome than we knew back then. So I’m not “in crisis” anymore. I’m Laura. This happy, contented feeling-I get to keep it? It’s not going away? But what do I chime in with at the water cooler? Will people hate me if I become one of *those* people who just posts on Facebook about how awesome their life is? Doubtful. Because I came preloaded with super snarky firmware, and that can never be uninstalled.