This afternoon, I sat on the couch in my bathrobe cleaning lint from my hairdryer with a steak knife and crying. I guess you could say I’m having sort of a weird day.
I don’t know exactly why, but I think it has something to do with all of the changes I’m working on with myself right now. So far, things have been going really well. I guess I was due for a down day sooner or later.
I mean, I am actually happy. For the first time in my adult life, I can say that and really mean it. If I was happy in the past, I depended on my happiness to come from external forces—a guy, a job, a new outfit—and it was always short-lived. Inevitably the guy would let me down, or the job wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be, or the outfit’s shine wore off. I could never understand why the mysterious intrinsic happiness most people seemed to possess had always eluded me.
I was so wound up inside. I felt like my core just kept spinning around tightening, tightening, tightening so that I could compress all the bad feelings I was having. I kept those bad feelings inside, but I was locked in there, too, focusing on the things going wrong in my life that I could never quite seem to fix. Why did everyone else get to be happy while I was stuck just muddling through?
In the last month, I have undergone a complete change in perspective. The realization that happiness takes effort may seem obvious to some, but it was transformational for me. Happiness is a choice, a decision to make on your own behalf. If I want to be happy, it takes work. Hard work. And I can’t depend on anyone but myself to do it. This is the kind of work that really fills you up, but at the same time, it’s completely draining.
But there really is something to this happiness thing. I like it enough that I don’t want to stop now! However, as much as I like it, it’s a big change for me. And the thing is, change is tough. Like, really really tough. When you have the same habits for a number of years, the time and effort it takes to reform them is monumental. And exhausting. I guess I’m bound to have a few setbacks on the way to my new version of normal.
Instead of feeling like a failure today because I’m a little blue, I need to give myself credit for the worthwhile effort I’m making. I know it’s hard. I knew it was going to be from the beginning. But isn’t that true of anything that’s really worthwhile?