So I was at dinner with my brother and sister in law last night and, as always, partially through my meal, my brother sprung out with one of his random-yet-largely sweeping inquiries while on vacation this week.
“So what’s your life goal for the next year? Do you want a boyfriend? A different job? To travel or get married?” (Uh what??).
Without even giving very much of a beat, I looked right at him and answered ” To continue my trend of happiness. To continue to grow it, and to continue to help make others lives better. That’s what I want. To continue to make a concious effort to live and love each day.”
The way that he looked back at me, you would have thought that i told him that I was planning to take over the world and make a billion dollars (all on a silver platter while I am at it). Like it was such a foreign thing to say that he wasn’t quite sure what I had actually said. He was perplexed that I didn’t want actual items, or that i didn’t desire to find that other person to “complete” me – he then went on a 25 minute rant about how all people want marriages because it brings stability, companionship, and an intimacy like no other. Well, I’ve been there done that, and for me, over the last year i’ve found that I feel incredibly blessed and close to those I am able to serve with and for, if even for a few hour bubble.
Don’t get me wrong, I most certainly would and do enjoy having someone to hug and ask how my day is and was. I want someone to eat with, to dance with and to laugh obnoxiously with. I’d like others to go on vacations with and share the burden of things that scare me with. To know that, when I am old, I will not be alone. BUT the fact that another person is or is not there should not determine whether or not I can deem myself happy.
On days where I am stressed, I try to force myself to think of things that go right and I am blessed to have. Some days it is harder than others, but most I can find something that creeps a sweeping smile across my lips. I left one year ago, and in these moments, I realize that the year like almost no time at all. I try to think of why and I realize that for one of the first times ever in my life, I have lived more calculatingly happy than ever. I set distinct goals and have managed to reach most of them (CAR I AM STILL COMING FOR YOU). I’ve done things that made me laugh, I’ve seen movies that made me cry, I have nurtured relationships with friends – new and old. I’ve gotten involved in my community. Gotten a new job and a roomie (well actually 2). Worked on my financial health. Been of service to those in need. Done numerous things that scared me. Kept up reasonably with this blog. Seen a play. Been to a concert (Maroon 5 private Christmas party …thanks bestie). Eaten tremendous food. Danced in socks. Cleaned my room. Read a book. Figured out Uber and Lyft.
You know the crazy part? The entire time I’ve been away, I’ve been sick with only one small cold for about three days. Despite the fact that I work in a train car with little to no insulation and the fact that all of my co-workers have fallen to stomach flus and cold bugs here’s me 98 lbs and generally apt to sickness smiling along. Not sure why, but I’ll take it and I’ll happily continue the thought that part of that is due to the fact that I’m not wasting time on what ails and fails me, but instead on rolling the ball of happines forward.
For the first time in so long, I’m not scared of getting older or where the heck time has gone as it slips through my fingers. Instead, I rather enjoy the mental movie review of how this year has gone and will continue to go. It’s fun to sit back and relax enjoying the fact that I set goals and i met them. To realize that along the way, I’ve had a tremendous opportunity to meet and help others. There isn’t near as many moments of puncuated regret or worry that I have missed something or should have done something different. (Though I will confess that this takes a LOT of self talk when I feel the rubber band starting to wind and tighten inside).
I think what I’ve learned more than anything is that a well intended life with some level of planning seems to be easier to live. Now don’t get me wrong,spontaneity is awesome and something I welcome and often live by, but it helps to have a general framework to operate in. For instance, someday, I’d’ like to zip line and bungee jump, but I’m putting no deadline on it which allows for wiggle room on it’s achievement. It’s not an if, cause I’ll do it, but the when remains fluid.
AsI write thus, on a vacation happily watching my five year old nephew make a corny joke about how his astronaut sticker needs more space and then looking up at me and saying “Get it, Auntie??” I am amazed at how smart he is. I can only hope for him that he learns much earlier than I did to set and work towards this goal of happiness and content to know that I have so much more time to continue to figure it out. Even if I don’t, I can happily say my life has grown so much as I conciously worked towards it this past year. There is no magic fomula, no reciepe card i can write for you and assure you that you will feel it, but I will continue to put good, loving light in the world for you and pray that it insprires you to seek and find whatever that means for you!