My mother presented this question to me last night during a phone conversation and it actually got me to thinking about how I could truly and honestly answer that question.
I’m half way through my life and at this point I can honestly say, after taking some time to lay in bed and think about it, that I have never, ever been genuinely happy, ever.
Now, there were times I was content and maybe even close to happy. However, looking back on those times, I realized the happiness was coming from a time in my life that was not true reality, more like a House of Cards that eventually all came crumbling down. It was not real.
The one time I remember actually being content enough to borderline true happiness was the last three months I was pregnant, back in early 2004. Weird, I know, to think the third trimester of a very LARGE pregnancy would make any women feel happy, but I was. I had been taken off work by my doctor, due to a painful gallstone which eventually prompted the removal of my whole gallbladder years later. During that time, I just watched my food intake and was able to keep the pain under control.
My Abyssinian/Siamese mix I had back in 2004
My Abyssinian baby boy back in 2004
Those days in the first three months of 2004 were peaceful, calm and quite serene. I would get up, not rushed, not fatigued and cuddle with my cats, then maybe go eat something and walk around the mall a bit, or just sit at home and play a video game. I felt no urgency to be somewhere, no worry about paying bills. Money was actually flowing in pretty good at that time because I was getting a disability check from my employer, using PTO time for being off work (so I was still getting a paycheck) and getting $1400 a month from AFLAC for disability. So I was basically getting a paycheck and then some. I was truly content and seemingly without a care in the world.
Thinking about it now, as I mentioned before, I was in a dream world, a world that wasn’t truly reality. I remember reality hitting VERY hard after the baby was born. The reality of a divorce, suddenly becoming a single mother and dealing with being a mother while living under my own mother’s roof (cliff notes version, a mother can’t be a mother while still living in their own mother’s house…impossible).
But to answer that initial question, have I ever been truly happy, the answer would be universally NO. I’m constantly in a state of agitation and worry. I’m constantly feeling pain of some sort, whether in my heart, through my emotions or actual physical pain. Thankfully the latter is much less since my 67 lb weight loss however, the 67 lb weight loss just adds to the psychological obsession that I have to make sure I never gain the weight back again. It also means the other forms of pain are only emphasized.
I know it is all me. I know we all create our own paths and our own happiness and I’m not saying that I have moments, and by moments, I mean literally, just seconds, of content-ness. (yeah, I made that word up, deal)
For instance, each evening, when I’m done with cooking dinner, doing my workout, cleaning up the apartment a bit, making sure The Boy is bathed and teeth brushed, telling The Boy to bath and brush his teeth 5-10 times in a row, getting The Boy to bed, making sure I’M bathed and I’m actually sitting down on the couch with my tablet and my cat, ready to crumble into a short state of vegetation because I realize I have to go to bed to start the routine all over again, sometimes, in that short state of vegetation, I will have a moment of content. The cat helps. Pets are truly therapy.
I have never really strived to reach pure happiness because I really don’t think it exists. I know some say being a parent brings happiness and I won’t deny that it does, sometimes, but sometimes, for me, the most being a parent and being a single parent has brought me is the realization that my sanity can be pushed just a little more each day to the brink of utter and massive detonation.
Today, I did reach 30 stars on my Starbucks Rewards Program. Now, I’m officially a Starbucks Gold Member (as long as I keep purchasing Starbucks for the next 12 months and keep the stars coming). In a way, that granted me a bit of joy. I do enjoy my Starbucks Pike Blend (never the frothy foo-foo coffee drinks…just straight Pike for me!)
Happiness is different for each individual person. I, personally, thought losing the most weight I’ve ever lost in my life and being able to actually see my ribs would make me happy. SURPRISE SURPRISE! I’m still miserable. But hey, at least my feet don’t hurt any more and I can squeeze into size 8 skinny jeans! But in return, I never get to enjoy a Bread Bowl filled with Broccoli and Cheese soup from Panera Bread, ever…ever again.
So, I wonder, if you sit and think about the initial question, “Have you ever been TRULY happy?”, first be honest with the part of the question that says “TRULY”. Then try and tell me you’ve been there. You’ll see things different when the rose-colored glasses are removed and you notice that everything is shit brown.