Have you ever hit a point in your life, particularly after a rough patch of some sort, where suddenly things were going really, really well, and you didn’t really know how to handle it?

Last year was, largely, a good one, but it definitely had its rough patches: I started the year in immense amounts of pain thanks to a badly spasmed back, I began a slow process of acknowledging that I experience chronic pain (and a slower process of actually doing something about it), I made the decision to cut off contact with my family of origin (which has been an overall positive for my mental health, but has still been hard), and I started dealing with body-related dysphoria in a way I hadn’t before.

The fact that I did NOT have to kick off this year with my back out was a major positive in itself, but really, the past month and change has been pretty wonderful. Even though I’ve been in more of a downswing in my bipolar cycle recently, I’ve had so much to be genuinely  happy about that the low moments in between have been quite tolerable. I’m excited about the creative work I’ve been doing. I have an incredibly supportive social network both at home in Chicago and elsewhere. I’m making plans more than a few weeks in advance, and have a feeling of certainty that these plans will actually happen.

And it’s all great, until I stop moving, and suddenly I wonder how on earth this happened and whether I’m actually allowed to be this happy.

But those moments of doubt keep growing fewer and farther between. I’m realizing there’s nothing wrong with being happy. If I’m coming from a good space, I’m better equipped to deal with the injustice of the world, which I really can’t handle when I’m all wrapped up in my own problems.

So here’s to happiness, and to gratitude, and to using that positive energy to do some good in the world.

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