Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Happiness, contentedness and everything else that isn't that.

"Well, as long as you're happy," is pretty much the most misunderstood phrase ever.

Think about it for a bit, being happy is overrated. We say such things when people are sad or stuck in a rut or we want things to change for them, and it just doesn't always mean what we want it to say. What we probably mean is, "It really sucks that you feel bad right now, how can we solve this?" but few people say this, or say it well.

If we are forever chasing some kind of happiness, we're going to be unhappy.

Happiness isn't paramount. Safety and security, and being stable in your health (physical, emotional, spiritual) really is. I think this is what we actually mean when we say we want someone to be happy. we just want them to not feel pain, or be sad, or angry. And it's hard to do, especially when what we actually mean is:
- you know, this is a great time to leave this crap situation
- the person is question is a jerk and can you just not see them anymore
- I want to solve this problem, but I can't, so the onus is on you to make yourself be happy
- this happened to me, and I should have made a better choice.

For me, my happiest time was a year ago while I was in India. It met all the criteria - new experiences, great food, a camp, travel, Guides and friendship. It had all the ingredients. But then it came to Saturday night, and I don't really know what happened. I felt homesick, but not enough to be upset. I spent some time reading a novel and cuddling up in bed. Me time was a Lisa thing before it was even a thing thing. The next day, which was my last day there, was actually really special, and I was very happy. And when I got home after a massive stop over, followed by an uncomfortable flight and then a two hour drive back to Kadina... I wasn't happy. I was tired and grumpy and didn't want to go back to work the next day. What we want doesn't always make us happy. But it does create some kind of contentedness that settles the issue once and for all.

One tough thing about being who I am is that sometimes I can be an Eeyore and sometimes I can be a Tigger. The trouble with that is that it's not especially balanced, and it doesn't always show the best side of me. When I was at Sangam last year, the girls all talked about how bubbly and happy I was, and to be honest, I hadn't felt like that for a very long time, years even. At home though, I was an Eeyore, even after I came back. I didn't mean to be, but I couldn't be switched on all the time.

What I think I have realised is that I don't need perfection in my life, at least, not in the form of happiness. There is plenty of things happening right now which point to one simple fact - I am not always in the best place to be happy. In fact, sometimes there is so much sadness that it seems unfair to even think that I can be happy when things go wrong.

When I was sixteen, I realised that as soon as I though something like 'everything is perfect in the world' or 'I am so mature and make great choices,' one little thing would cause it to all come crashing down. I also found that I could talk myself into this state of mind quite easily, and some of the things I was happy for were sometimes lies to myself. Now when I think I am going down this same path, I try and stop it. In some ways, thinking such things before something bad happening is not a terrible place to be. On the other hand, false security is overrated and thinking these things probably didn't help a lot at the time.

It's probably not very fair to say I'm happy at the moment. Other than liking my job (and I hardly ever like my jobs), and having a house, and living where I want, and having an awesome husband and a great family and some pretty good friends... I don't have as much 'good stuff' happening as I do in the usual happiness categories. Am I excited about being a mum? Yes, but scared beyond reason!

I have had some disappointments in the last few months too, and some actually real problems (let's face it, not getting into a derby league isn't a choice right now anyway). And for what's going on in my own life, it really sucks. But it is bittersweet as well, because silver linings help. Well, sometimes at least.

I am happy now, being content. It's enough for me. It seems like a fair state of mind for everyone around me. More than that though, being happy does really wear me out! Being in a constant state of happiness is not the best place for anyone, ever. Being content seems reasonable to me.