I go through cycles of being really happy and able to identify and be thankful for all that I have, and then I dip into lows where it seems like my life is a giant bowl of boring assness. The thing is, I KNOW that I am lucky, that I have a lot, that I am privileged. Sometimes it’s so easy to feel bored or restless or just plain depressed. I find myself constantly looking toward the future for something to be excited about and I am so wrapped up in tomorrow that I am not present to the here and now. Which is a damn shame because I have a lot to be thankful for.
Right now I am stuck at a low point. I know it because by 8PM I am longing for my bed. Getting up with my alarm is nearly impossible. Reaching out to my friends is a massively effortful task. I feel like I’m not doing anything worthwhile. I don’t want to write here or work on my book idea. Zack wants to talk in the evenings and I find myself completely blanking on what to say because my days are all blurred together and have become indistinguishable. I get momentarily excited about an idea and the next minute my motivation and inspiration are gone. I feel guilty a lot of the time. I start to doubt my ability to set goals and meet them. Oh look! It’s 8PM. Time for bed, THANK GOD.
This is not a fun way to live, even knowing that my mood will lift itself at some point and everything won’t feel so effing hard forever. But I would like to take charge of my overall happiness because why wallow in the shit if you can possibly grab onto something and pull yourself out of it?
So, in the spirit of positive thinking and hopefulness, I give you my list of things that make me happy.
1. Zack. He’s loving, supportive, optimistic, idealistic, and never fails to try to cheer me up. He’s a great listener and a devoted partner. He gets excited about my ideas and researches them for me. He thinks of little things to do that will make me happy. He tells me he loves me every day and never lets me forget that I make him happy, too.
2. My awesome friends and family. They truly are an amazing group of people and I am lucky to have them in my life. I am particularly grateful that each of my friends polishes a different facet of myself. My family is loving and generous and supportive.
3. My animals. They bring me great joy and comfort. Even on the shittiest of days they can bring a smile to my face. They offer unconditional love and are surprisingly tuned in to my emotional climate. It’s not unusual for me to have my little herd huddled around when I am upset, particularly if I am crying. Animals really are incredibly intuitive beings.
4. I have a safe, stable home, food in my belly, and a lot of creature comforts. It’s easy for me to bemoan the fact that we are always pinching pennies but the truth of the matter is, we have a LOT of fixed monthly bills (like rent, car payment, cell phone bill for our iPhones, etc.) and that eats up our income fast. Instead of being sad about having little money to spend on restaurants and bars, new clothing items every week and you know, material stuff, I want to focus on feeling proud that it’s my income that allowed us to buy a new car last April when ours was on its last leg; it is my income that enables us to park that car in the city rather than leave it an hour north at my mom’s; and it is my income that makes it possible for us to go out every now and again and splurge once in awhile. I am making significantly more money than we anticipated I would when we moved to Chicago 18 months ago and that is a blessing. Even if we do still struggle sometimes. And you know what else? I have just as much fun sitting on someone’s couch with a bottle of wine and my friends all around as I do in a bar. So who cares if most of the time that’s what we do?
5. I find great entertainment and value in books. I have read nine books in the past two weeks! Books are fucking excellent.
6. I like that I don’t want to settle on a career that I’m not passionate about. Even if I don’t always follow through on them, I constantly get ideas about what I want to do, what it would be cool to learn more about, what I could be doing in ten years, etc. I will probably have multiple careers rather than a single long one and that is okay with me. I like having my fingers in a lot of pots and there are a lot of things I care about and want to be involved with. That isn’t a bad thing.
7. For as much as I bitch about my commute and public transportation, I have it way better than a lot of people. And I have the added bonus of using my car most of the time, except when going to and from work. So I really shouldn’t complain. My bus isn’t usually stinky and the people on my route are occasionally weird or rude but for the most part they practice good hygiene and respect personal space so it’s a lot better than it could be. Plus my bus runs like every three minutes during rush hour so my exposure to the elements is usually short-lived. Oh, and I can walk to and from work when the weather permits. Yeah, I’d say I have it pretty good.
8. Have I mentioned that we are using our tax return to go to Europe in March? Because yeah. That is totally happening.
9. I have to staunch the urge to plaster photos of my godson all over my apartment because he is just that delicious. It is pretty awesome to watch him grow and change. He is so happy! And I feel honored that we were chosen to play such a special role in his life.
10. Cable. Television. Maybe it’s lame to admit, but when you are watching your spending there is something to be said for having 300 channels’ worth of entertainment possibilities at your fingertips. Also: board games, cards and rowdy pets are acceptable forms of free in-home fun.
See? That is a lot to be happy about.
What makes you happy?