Some days I feel like my life has changed a lot since I began this blog and others I don't feel like it has changed at all. Or maybe more exactly I know my life has changed but I don't always feel that I have progressed. While "Almost 40" is getting dangerously closer to just 40, "overweight" seems to be a battle that I will always fight. "Single" has it's good and bad days but I would say good usually takes the lead on that one for now. But "happy"... this is somewhere I said I was yet I'm always searching for what it means as if I can find something better. I read an article this week that maybe gives me some insight on what's stumping this progression.
*"Our culture has come to define happiness as an experience that blows your mind. It's as though we're somehow falling short if we don't routinely feel the way Times Square looks - madly pulsing with a billion watts of Wow!"
This is me. I've always lived in the highs and lows. And to be honest I've thought myself quietly manic often, but to avoid funny shaped jackets I couldn't get out of and less than fun bouncy house like rooms I've never told anyone. And the problem with the manic state is that when you get too high, you always fall.
I always search for the excitement: the first kiss, the most fun night out, the greatest game. Excitement that makes my heart pump makes me feel like I'm happy. Yet there is always the let down. You can only have one first kiss with someone. There is always a point after that great game when your team will lose. And truthfully while I search for the excitement I think I anticipate the fall just as often. So there in my anxiety I sit... waiting. Waiting for the really great or waiting for the really bad.
*A Pueblo Indian chief once told Carl Jung "the whites always want something; they are always uneasy and restless. We don't know what they want. We don't understand them. We think they are all mad."
I don't think we know either, we just think we are supposed to want something all the time. Well and let's move forward a few years... I don'to think it's a "white" problem, but possibly an American problem. And yes, I find myself crazy too.
I'm sure you can imagine what the advice in the article was:
"Live in the moment"
"Be here now"
And I don't disagree with that at all. It is how we all should think and live. Her suggestion to help better find your way to this was to get busy. Do things. Make things. Occupy your mind with calm happiness by occupying your hands. Here I tend to have a problem, who has time to solve their anxiety as well as live in the perpetual moment by doing new arts and crafts? I find often that people who write about making life better have all the time in the world to do so.
But I will say this about living in the moment. I can learn to remind myself that just because a kiss isn't the first, doesn't mean it's not just as wonderful for that person to want to kiss me again. And when they no longer want to, I'll being happy in my memory as well as my ability to move on, that should be my calm happiness. Keeping up with the highs and lows of the football season, not the big game, this is what shall remind me that life, as one of my friends so often reminds me, is a marathon not a sprint.
I think what I heard was to breathe, look around, enjoy the quiet just as much as the fury. Even more. And maybe when looking for my highs, I should measure how far I'm going to fall before the climb.
*from an article by Martha Beck in Feb. 2012 Oprah Magazine