Main image by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
It’s not the kind of thing that we go around saying, is it? At least not the Brits. At least not most Western Europeans. And at least not on a regular, ongoing basis.
Sure – we hear people say it, we might say it ourselves, when something specific and grandiose happens. We might extol, “I am soooooo happy”, if, for example, we…
…get invited on a date by an iconic heartthrob (god forbid)
…pass our exams with flying colours
…get into the university of our choice
…get a job offer at an organisation that inspires us
…win a cool project
…have a baby, or another, and another
…hear of similar things happening to those most near and dear to us.
But not, perhaps, on a random Sunday afternoon.
And most definitely not when your recent life is littered with painful losses.
But I am happy.
Deeply and genuinely happy.
At least, I was yesterday, on a typical Sunday afternoon.
I was, too, on the typical Saturday preceding it.
And I am today on a not-quite-so-typical Monday.
It was a sweet moment. Medjool and I were having a celebratory weekend doing our usual weekend stuff (plus a few extras to make it feel more birthday-ish).
And there, sitting outside, feeling the sun on my skin, Medjool’s body’s warmth next to me, I said it.
“You know what – I am truly happy. I am deeply and genuinely happy. Despite it all, I am happy”.
I started to explain. I started to add the caveats. But he gently cut me off with knowing sounds.
I don’t need to add the caveats with Medjool. He knows that they are there anyway. Always.
That my life is a tapestry of both-ands, bitters and sweets, joys and pains. And to express my glee, my happiness in the moment, just means I am happy. There and then. Here and now.
It doesn’t mean that I’ve used a magic Etch-a-Sketch to wipe out the recent years. The hurts, the pains, the losses are all still there. Deeply there.
But sometimes there’s more luscious happiness too.
Sometimes the Etch-a-Sketch is in technicolour.
I feel lucky to know this feeling of being happy consistently again. I have been lucky enough to spend many of my 5 ½ decades being happy. I realise that that is not every person’s experience in life. I seem to have a higher set-point for happiness than many people. Being at point 7 on the Enneagram probably helps. I like to believe that my 7 gives me a shortcut to fonts of joy and gratitude!
And so to the caveat – lest anyone, let alone I – might believe that, “Well – all good now. Grief over. Done”. Nah.
I am not so naïve. And weird as it sounds, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I am not yet quite sure why not. I need to noodle it over further. I don’t want to simplify something complex. I think it is about wanting to honour what is deeply part of me, my life, my history.
It is not just about being in new relationship – though for sure that helps – not because it’s a relationship, but because the relationship is top quality.
Yes – I would still prefer my old life back, in heartbeat, and Medjool knows it. If Mike and Julia walked back into my life, it is Medjool I would separate from. And he knows that too. Not that we talk about it. He just knows.
And I am with him. Happily. Genuinely and deeply happily.
I have a good life. I know I have a good life. A beautiful life.
I have become capable of allowing in more happiness. Letting it in, letting it grow and flourish. Alongside the sadness.
Gratitude with the grief. Love with the loss.
Bittersweet. And beautiful.
Photo by Ja San Miguel on Unsplash