Returning to Happiness

It’s easy to be pulled away by life. The long list of tasks, the never-ending chores; they are more powerful than they seem and can easily whisk you away from more pleasurable things. You’re trucking along, focusing on the changing of seasons, but then you’re suddenly thrown into a whirlwind of unplanned activity and calendar months are flipped by and you’re settling firmly into late summer.

What happened? How did we even get here?

Technically, I have been an adult for thirteen years. My adulthood is a teenager (weird). But I haven’t felt quite like an adult, not really, until just the past few years. Even still in times of stress I find myself looking for an adult, I find myself going “surely there is someone more capable of handling this than me.”

At the start of the winter months we were faced with a family death and then an upheaval of our living situation. We downgraded from a three bedroom, three-floor town home to two bedroom apartment that was half the size. Gone went most of our belongings as we focused on what was most important and tried our best to make it fit into our new, smaller home and before we knew it, summer sunshine was beating down.

I look back and wonder where the spring months went. They’re entirely made of a whirlwind of color and activity. But summer arrived and with it that ever-present list of items we had to do. Continue working through our belongings and downgrading even more, preparations for our quickly approaching wedding that involved calling vendors and booking them, class work for graduate school and then what were we left with?

August came suddenly and yet we felt like we had been waiting for it. There was some source of relief in August that we had been vying for. Class was winding down, we were settled in our new home, the booking of wedding items were complete. Finally, finally we could breathe.

But I felt somewhat lost. I felt as if there was a vital part of me missing. I had a week free, my first one in months, and I realized that any enjoyment was at my fingertips. Reading, writing, taking walks. It was all there. I rested in my reading chair and I flipped through 20 pages of a book within minutes; I sat at my computer and typed away not on school work, but pleasure writing; I focused solely on my tiny herbs and freed them of dead leaves. Suddenly I was moored, the final piece of myself fitting into place.

The past number of months weren’t necessarily unhappy ones, but ones filled with stressful activity. I had little choice in my day-to-day activities as they were fully focused on greater timelines that I could not influence. My own pleasure and happiness was an afterthought, something less important. Returning to moments of happiness, doing activities that bring me peace and joy, reminds me that these moments are necessary. Self help, self-love, self-care is necessary. It’s something I have known and grown more acquainted with during my thirteen years of adulthood, but a lesson I apparently have not quite learned in full because I keep forgetting it, only to recall it again in moments such as this.

But I welcome this new season–a season of a different sort–as I settle into late summer, a pile of unread books, and fresh pens waiting for fresh paper. I remind myself once more that life has a way, particularly as an adult, of grabbing for your attention and pulling you away from moments of pleasure and peace. But it’s best to reset yourself and focus once more. The herb garden is doing well despite my poor maintenance, but now I can give it the love it deserves as the cicadas sing and the leaves start to hint at their autumn colors.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s