Happiness Is…

After being completely miserable with a cold last week, this week is shaping up to be truly fantastic. I am genuinely happy, and here a handful of reasons specific to this week:

  1. I’m mostly over my cold. I’m still a little sniffly and coughing a bit, but compared to last week, I feel great. I’m ready for it to be gone altogether, but I’m not forgetting to be grateful for simple things, like being able to breathe through my nose 90% of the time.
  2. Work is dull, but the rest of my week is not. I’m the only person from my team at work who isn’t on vacation this week. There are things I could be working on (and I am working on some of them), but mostly it’s just boring. Which is fine (it’s less stressful than the norm, for sure). The rest of my week, though, is full of friends and music and knitting and it’s just plain wonderful.
  3. I’m feeling inspired. This is largely due to the fact that my week has been full of people and events that inspire creativity. Last week I was invited to join a new D&D-type game that’s just getting off the ground, and I spent a substantial chunk of the beginning of the week digging into the character I came up with, writing up a back story. I haven’t written prose outside of the blog in a while, and it’s been ages since I’ve done much fiction writing, so that was a lot of fun! This week has been a lot of music (thanks, Joe!) and hanging out with other people who like to create, which generally does a good job of feeding my own creative impulses.
  4. I’m feeling connected. I am, at the core, an introvert. But my relationships with other people are incredibly important to me, and I feel like I’ve been able to foster new connections and strengthen old ones this week, and it’s helping me get out of my head.
  5. I’m feeling extraordinarily lucky. Things are, for the most part, going really well right now. And a lot of places this week has taken me have made me feel like I really do lead a very charmed life. Gratitude is not hard to find in weeks like this one.

Happiness

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.

A Handful of Happy Thoughts

Suddenly, Thursday morning is here and I’m realizing I never wrote a blog for this week. Whoops! I’ve been rather stuck in my own head lately, working through some things, but here are a handful of reasons I’ve been smiling:

  • I finally have enough facial hair to experiment a little bit. I’ve had sideburns for a while now, but my chin whiskers have gotten a lot stronger recently, so I’ve been sporting a tiny goatee for the past week. My partner likes it, and (even more importantly) I like it, so I think it’s going to stick around a while.
  • We both got (long overdue) haircuts over the weekend. There are few things that make me feel really good about how I look, but getting a haircut is definitely one of them.
  • I’ve been working more on the friendships I have here in Chicago (instead of focusing all the time on how much I miss my friends in Minnesota), and I’m finally at a point where I’m starting to ditch the idea that these are all my partner’s friends and not mine, too (because he knew them all before I did). I generally feel like I’m not great at making friends, but I’m enjoying this attempt to be more intentionally social.
  • I knit tiny balloons over the weekend. They’re currently adorning my computer monitor at work, and they’re adorable.
  • My best friend is coming to visit this weekend. I haven’t been able to spend time with her in person in months, and I am so excited!