If You’re Happy and You Know It….

The other night, while taking a shower, I yelled something along the lines of “I just wish we had a bathtub! ALL I WANT is a bathtub” Husband popped his head in the bathroom, and responded with “You need to be happy with what you have.”

Excuse me?

That is not the response I expected. Typically my comments like that receive either a sarcastic reply or a complimentary “yeah, sure” I’m-just-pretending-to-listen answer. So, as I towel-dried my hair I looked at him and asked, “Just what exactly did you mean by that?” I’m not used to hearing such deep and serious comments from my usual jokey Husband.

With the most serious voice he could muster he told me that I have been complaining A LOT lately about things I do not have, and using the phrases “if only” an “I JUST want” far too often. Very quickly I responded with a “pfft have not!” but I was secretly thinking, “Hmmm, maybe he has a point”, although best not to say that out loud.

The next day I thought long and hard about being happy. Being obsessive-compulsive forces me to obsess over any criticism I receive. Seriously, a complete stranger might tell me my eyebrows are uneven and I will spend days examining them in the mirror questioning the exact proportions of my brows. In elementary school one kid made fun of my most favorite pair of pants, and I refused to ever wear those pants again. I couldn’t look at those pants without thinking about that bratty girl’s comment.

So after Husband’s remark I thought, Am I happy? What makes me happy? What keeps me happy? What is happy? Do I have to always be happy? Should I even be happy with what I have? Shouldn’t I want more? Isn’t it good to want more and therefore work harder for a better life???

All this thinking and questioning led to lots of doubting. Why am I not completely happy? I have a great life, and I am basically a pretty healthy person. I have a job that I enjoy, a family that loves me, the best friends I could imagine, and I have gotten to do travel, read, dance, and create more often than most people I know. Yet…nothing seems enough.

I still want so much. I still want a baby, more money, a better paying job (teachers deserve so much more $), a house, a yard, ducks, a cat, a clear complexion, perfect abs, a garden, a trip to every country in the world, more time to dance, a spot on dancing with the stars, to NEVER feel anxious and panicky again, and the list goes on and on. My day of questioning turned into a messy tear-fest.

I had an ugly cry. The kind of cry that requires you to hide in the bathroom so no one has to look at that ugly cry face, hear those deep sobs, and worst of all… the snot. The kind of cry that scares husbands and boyfriends because they have absolutely no idea what can cause a woman to cry like this out of what appears to be nowhere. It’s the kind of cry that I can’t even explain.

So I let myself cry it out on the bathroom rug. I allowed myself to feel sad, scared, and angry. I even let myself think about all the things I am so very afraid of, the stuff that threatens my happiness the most:  disease, infertility, job loss, husband loss, and panic.

I cried until I felt better because sometimes that’s what I need. I am obviously a very emotional person. Kristen Bell once said, “If I am not between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, I’m crying.” I know how she feels. When I find something really funny I laugh until it hurts, but basically everything else makes me cry. It might be a Wal-Mart commercial, Ellen, a dog video on YouTube, a cute baby and their father at the grocery store, or a Taylor Swift song, it doesn’t matter, they all make me cry like a baby.

For years I kept myself from crying because I assumed it made me look weak and vulnerable. I became pretty good at holding back my tears until I could find the closest bathroom to hide and cry, but I don’t care anymore. It feels good to let it out. Sometimes it even prevents a panic attack, or maybe it is a form of panic? I don’t know.

After all the crying and emotional mess, I finally found an answer. I AM happy with my life. I am NOT happy everyday. That’s okay. It’s okay to not carpe diem, and it’s okay to not always be happy. Sometimes life sucks, and on those sucky days, I will not make myself feel guilty for not “being happy”.

The things that I want will bring me more joy, but they will not determine my happiness. Husband is right that I need to be happy with what I have, because well, it’s all I have. I don’t have a baby or live on a farm (which I apparently want after re-reading that wish list) and I can’t wait until I have these things to be happy.

Mostly, I need to complain less. It’s good to vent, it’s not good to whine. Husband, I’ll do my best to stop whining and wanting SO much. Although, I would like to mention that I still would like a bathtub so let’s keep that at the top of our list when looking for new places to live. Thanks.

Cheers and Happy Thoughts

4 Comment

  1. Melissa Guy Townsend says: Reply

    Reading this reminded me a lot of… me lol. It has taken me almost 35 years to just accept that I can’t have everything I want… and there’s a reason for that. Everything I have–everything from my friends, to my talents, to my possessions… even my shortcomings!–is exactly what I need, right now. If everything I *think* I want were handed to me, I wouldn’t know what to do with it! I wouldn’t appreciate it; I would misuse it; I would wish I’d taken more time to really savor what I had before. I know from experience!

    With growing kids, a husband who is new to his career, and me kind of hanging out, waiting for my turn to “bloom,” I sometimes get in a rush for more money, a bigger house, more freedom, etc. It certainly seems that everyone else has these things, why not me? But I’ve learned that I when/if God sees fit for me to have some of the things I wish for, it will be in His perfect time, for His reason, and that I will be blessed because of it. So, to use a Dr. Phil-ism, I “grow where I’m planted.” 🙂 After all, the things we take for granted are things someone else is wishing to have!

    The anecdote here is cute: http://paulsponderings.blogspot.com/2008/06/god-gives-us-what-we-need.html

    Anyway… just had to chime in because I can SO relate.

    1. Wow, thanks melissa, I really appreciate your comments. I have that same feeling that everyone else but me gets what they want, but I guess we all do that. I love the story in the blog about that little boy who wanted to be a cowboy. I know I have often looked back on what I wished would have happened at one time, and am now thankful things didn’t work out the way I wanted. I need to try to keep that perspective. And, the Dr. Phil quote is perfect! I think I will write that one down to keep with me! Thanks again, it’s always good to know that someone else can relate.

  2. I loved the post. I find if I try and force myself happy on a day when I’m not happy, things just end up a lot worse, so I agree – it is good to have those days where you accept you’re not 100%.
    It’s true you can take the wanting overboard, but I think wanting more things in our lives is what keeps pushing them forward. If we were always content with everything then there would be no need to change anything.

    1. yes, i agree. It’s sometimes good to want more, and Im even starting to realize that I get joy out of working for the the things I want. I enjoy the journey and appreciate the result of my work even more.

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