Monday, April 19, 2010

The Pursuit of Happiness...

A friend of mine called me on Sunday and asked what should have been a simple question. She said, "are you happy?" My first thought was, "is this a trick question?" It should have been super easy to answer. In theory, it's either yes or no. But, in practice it took a lot of thought before I could come to a conclusion. In fact, I think I've only reached it now, as I type this entry.

Initially, my thought was yes. At that exact moment, I was happy. Then it occurred to me that I was really more content than happy. At the moment she called, my boys were sleeping. Tabbi was napping on the couch. Mark was mowing the lawn. I was upstairs in my bed reading a book and lazily dozing off. That was pure contentment. But, is that happy? I am not sure.

I think on most days, I would say yes. I would sum up my general state of being as happy. I love Mark, I love my kids, I love my home, I love my family and I generally like my life. There are days when I would say no though, and no part of that equation would be any different. There are days when Mark and I are just not getting along. Usually I want a higher degree of participation from him and he wants a lower degree of nagging from me. Then there are times when I don't love being a SAHM. There are days when I miss working.... I miss feeling like I accomplish something. Instead, I spend the day chasing my tail trying to get Will and Jack to do simple things I need them to do... like pee in the toilet not the floor or color on paper, not my couch. I feel impotent, not important, and there are days that makes me sad. So on those days, I am not happy.

I think if anyone says they are happy all of the time they are lying... or stoned. One or the other. I think that the goal should be to have more good days than bad, and when you don't, it is time for a drastic change. I think that no person is happy in every aspect of their lives at one time, either. As I laid in bed reading my book and listening to the sounds of silence, I still had moments of nagging money thoughts. See, Mark, I nag myself too. We're super tight this week so I was pondering transfers from accounts and whether or not I could get one of my measly paychecks this week. While we are extremely fortunate to be able to have me stay home with the kids, I dream of a time when I will have a substantial paycheck too and we will not nickel and dime our way to the next check. But, when I balance the scales, we still land in the positive. We have a home, two cars, food and even Netflix. If this is "making it work" then I have no place to complain. But, I could be happier.

The day before I moved to Kansas from Iowa, the only home I'd ever known, I got a fortune cookie that said "you're only as happy as you let yourself be." That is probably the best statement on happiness that I have ever heard. I've never forgotten that advice and when I ponder the question asked of me yesterday, I think yes would have to be the answer. Because even though we could use more money and raising the kids can be like raising a herd of worms, ultimately, I choose to be happy. And I am.


Tuffy said...

Happiness is overrated. It's all about what is happening. The attitude of letting yourself be happy makes sense. It's rising above the circumstances, good or bad, and finding some level of joy.

Someday maybe I'll have some idea how to actually do that. :)

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Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

I think "happiness is overrated" should be a bumper sticker.