Happiness is…Not A Given Everyday! S’okay.

Life is hard. I hard that in a podcast yesterday, referencing the first sentence in Dr. M. Scott Peck’s bestselling book The Road Less Traveled. He said it’s important to reinforce that idea these days when we all think we need to be happy or we are doing this life thing all wrong.

That’s simply not true.

Whaaaat?

Sometimes, for maybe a day, or maybe a few years, we won’t be happy, because LIFE IS HARD, and things come up (a pandemic, a breakup, hating a job), but it doesn’t mean it won’t get better, or that you’re doing something wrong. It is just another piece to this big puzzle, and it is mercurial and evolving. Being happy is not somethings we can always maintain, despite our wishes for “a happy pill!”

I thought about that this morning when I went to let the dogs out early, and it was kind of rainy and damp, and I felt a sadness wash over me. I then thought back to yesterday, when I was at peace on a walk, and feeling so optimistic, because it was a beautiful and warm sunny day on the ocean (oh, and a vaccine may be coming and the election is over…sort of). It struck me how nothing had really changed since yesterday, so I thought I should shift my feeling to being happy. Ya know, ‘cuz it’s that easy!

Yesterday

But I did not. I decided to sit with my feelings and to accept them for what they were. Because life is hard, and we can’t expect so much! We may have to just let things be and ride the wave without impressing our own harsh judgments.

Easier said than done, I know. But something to consider, nonetheless. Remind yourself that the end game is to survive and enjoy MOST, but not all, of the ride. If we didn’t know sadness, we would not know joy!

Actual Joy Pictured

It’s Okay to Cry

I have cried, I think, once a day for the last seven days. That’s unusual for me…now. In my 20s and 30s, I am pretty sure I cried every day. I remember one of my close guy friends told me he hadn’t cried in several years, and I was befuddled. I was like, ‘HUH!? You must be so repressed! What is happening!?”

So I used to cry about big life things, such as, “I am never going to find ‘the one,'” and ‘Why can’t I figure out what I want to do with my life?” Ya know, your basic lame, white girl problems when you’re still on the dole of your Dad.

I know I’m 28, but can you send me my rent?

Now, I cry about things like when my son and I were walking the dogs last night, and he told me that my ex-husband probably married me for my looks, but “those have lowered.” Or, when I miss my long-distance boyfriend, and it hurts. Or, that I don’t always fit in.

I am not sad, really, no. I am just in-tune with my emotions, I guess?

I cried, too, this week when I saw my daughter sleeping next to me, as she does every night, and she’s so big now. She’s almost 8. I know, I know; she should sleep in her own bed. But, I’m alone, and I like to touch her ankles with my cold feet, and to hear her breathing, as I did when she was an infant and wouldn’t nap unless I lay down with her. I cried, because I remembered how tiny she was, in her zebra, zip-up, onesie, and how she smelled of powder and cornsilk on her fine hair. And how, at that time, things were so different, and I didn’t envision co-parenting and sleeping alone on Wednesdays.

The point I guess I’m trying to make is, it’s okay to cry, even if you’re happy. The tears stream down, cleanse you of those thoughts, and you can move on. People seem so concerned with appearing happy. I guess I’m just here to say, well, it’s okay to cry…

The Storm Before the Calm

 

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Jim Carrey as Fire Marshall Bill

Have you ever had a Fire Marshall Bill moment when you suddenly just want to exit left abruptly and there’s no stopping you? I had one of those moments yesterday when I was out with several friends. In fact, my insistence that I jettison myself from the scene ASAP was noted by one, who even called me Fireman Bill! Here is what I looked like:

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So here was the scene. I’m sitting there trying to drink this heinous, fluorescent yellow Chardonnay that tasted like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and I suddenly came to the conclusion that I must go home. I wasn’t sure why I felt this way, until I actually got home and had a full meltdown while walking my dogs that I didn’t want to live here on Cape Cod anymore. I am not sure what came over me.

It reminded me of those times in New York City when I’d ride the subway and just start crying. To me, that was sort of a regular thing. And, really, it didn’t seem problematic,(LOLing) because there were so many other people around and no one seemed to notice! One minute, I’d be subway surfing and balancing while holding onto the dirty pole with two fingers, and the next I’d be sitting down and crying, staring at the floor.

Well, one time, someone did notice. It was this guy sitting across from me. He gave me an empathetic side smile and handed me a book, his book, and got off the train. By the time I registered what had happened, he was gone. It was a yellow business book, called Time is Money, and on the inside of the cover, he wrote: “Nice Things Happen.” I’ll never forget that.

It’s true.

So, back to me gripping and walking my dogs last night, I ran into a neighbor. I don’t know her well, but we have kids who are similar ages. She told me she was struggling, (maybe I was looking haggard and obvious?), and I was so appreciative! In fact, so much so, that I think I was legit like yelling positive affirmations about parenting to a mother from across the street at Volume 50. Me: No, totally, I get it! I do! We must get together! I am here for you!

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Anyway, I walked on and started to legit bawl that I wanted to move! I didn’t know how I could stay here anymore. I was carrying two doggie bags of poop, holding one dog leash in one hand and one in the other, and hunched over. I  was like, “How did this happen? I am not from Cape Cod. How have I been here so long! I need to go!” The poop bags were a metaphor.

BUT!

I woke up, and things are a lot nicer today.

I did some writing, went for a run, and I turned off the music on my iPhone. I walked past the beach and stopped to take these photos, thinking how insane I was to be crying that I was forced to live here. Where I live is beautiful, and I’m so lucky to be here!

Okay, now I’m not trying to be that person who tags all of her social media photos with #Blessed #whywelivehere, ’cause that’s just annoying. It’s almost as annoying as #goodtimes #goodfriends.

But sometimes you have a Fire Marshall Bill moment! And then you cry and put out the fire.

And what’s left is calm.

 

 

 

 

Single and Alone During a Pandemic

On Wednesdays, my children go with their dad for the night. While this was at one time a much-appreciated and well-deserved break for me, during this pandemic, my feeling of isolation is exponential. It reminds me of when I had to put the Christmas tree up by myself. An experience like that that can be joyful with a family around, but it can be that much more lonely as a single person. Worse yet, a single person who actually has children but who cannot be with them. I often fear Christmas day when they leave mid-morning for their dad’s house. Today, I fear the sadness I will feel over the coming hours. The nighttime is the worst.

Sometimes, when I just can’t handle the nighttime by myself anymore, I turn off the lights and go to bed at 8 o’clock, like I’m a toddler. I lay there, maybe take a melatonin gummy to fall asleep and wait until morning. Sometimes I lay there and wonder what the hell happened, and how I find myself in this situation. Where did I go wrong? How can I fix this? Regrettably, I can’t. I can only move forward and have to accept that. Acceptance isn’t easy for me.

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Photo by Ashutosh Jaiswal on Pexels.com

I am not writing this as a call for help or for you to feel bad for me. I’m writing, because it’s how I can work through something. I also like to communicate with others through words, and to share my thoughts with people who might feel the same, and it resonates with them. I also write to give some insight to those of you who are stuck at home with a partner or spouse during this pandemic, and you are going nuts and dreaming of getting a divorce. Maybe you’re walking up the staircase lobbing out the middle finger. Or maybe you’re rolling your eyes behind the fridge door as you sneak a tug of wine. Let me tell you: the grass isn’t greener on this side. Really think about it, I say, before you do anything drastic. I did hear, interestingly enough, that the domestic violence rate is up right now during the COVID-19 social quarantine. If you ever find yourself there, or as some say “in the wrong story,” then leave. Definitely leave, then.

Yesterday, I felt exasperated trying to work remotely and entertain a 7-year-old and 9-year-old. It’s kind my fault she always wants to play with me, because I am extremely good at Barbies. #resume #skillset In fact, she often touts this about me, and when they had to do a Mother’s Day assignment in school and fill in the blank for “My Mother Is Good at ____,” she wrote “Barbies.” Most kids wrote “hugs,” “cooking,” “stories.” Cooking? Not my forte.

This reminds me of when I first got divorced, and I was in the local coffee shop. I looked at the bookshelf to my left, which had a few straggling books left behind. One of them was titled Cooking for One. Something about that title just strikes me as inherently depressing. Like, in buying it, you’re admitting to yourself a life of solitude.  Perhaps being alone works for some people. And that’s great. However, I’m not one of them. I’m a ENTJ, or whatever those acronyms are. Simply put: I like to be with people. I’m more of a social animal, like a dog or a hyena. Wait…

Anyway, I hope those of you who are home alone today–or even feeling alone with people–know there’s someone here who empathizes: me. We will get through these times.  As Charles Dickens once wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Oh, and I hate people who quote Dickens. The end.