Fall down seven times; get up eight

“So I put my faith in something unknown, I’m living on such sweet nothing. But I’m tired of hope with nothing to hold, I’m living on such sweet nothing ~Calvin Harris

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately. More specifically, the things that make us happy and how people come to feel this way. C.S. Lewis once said “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” I saw the above quote this morning that really resonated with me. How often do we base our happiness on the actions of others, or moments in time?

Without going into detailed specifics, I’ve had a tough summer, and honestly, I have no one to blame for it but myself. It all started with my dad dying and slowly snowballing out of control from there, to the point that I didn’t even know who I was anymore. And really, I know it started even before that. I saw the warning signs did nothing to stop the avalanche. I was unhappy, moody, sullen and depressed. And when I wasn’t feeling those things, I wasn’t feeling anything at all.

I needed something. I was feeling antsy and itchy. I felt like something was missing that I couldn’t put my finger on. I felt like my skin was too tight and something within me was trying to break free. What it all comes down to was the need to feel alive, or rather the need to feel something other than what I was feeling. I felt like I had been going through the motions for so long thinking that maybe I was happy, when I realized that I was simply complacent. When my dad died, something inside of me changed. It wasn’t that I was devastated or heartbroken, because I wasn’t.

A first I felt relieved that all his suffering was over. And then I began to worry…about myself. My dad spent most of his life depressed and angry which caused him to alienate every single person in his life. Most days, he was downright mean. And I could really see myself heading down the same path and it scared me.

I needed to shake things up and feel something just to prove I was nothing like him. I needed to be reckless and downright irresponsible. And I was. I put my needs for “aliveness” ahead of the the needs of so many people around me. I felt conflicted but I also felt alive…knowing I should change the situation, but also unable to do it at the same time.

I now realize that a lot of it had to do with me looking outside of myself for some form of happiness and thought certain situations were going to make me happier. And they did…and they didn’t. I spent most of my summer in complete turmoil, wrestling with feelings I thought I had, with feelings I actually had, with feelings I was supposed to be having, all while trying to wear the mask of normalcy around my children and friends.

And then just as quickly and spontaneously as the “aliveness” started, it was over. I have let myself think and analyze for a week. Its almost as if I was grieving. I don’t know, though, what exactly I was grieving for. Was it for what I lost, or was is simply because I now knew I was going to go back to feeling nothing in my daily life?

I still haven’t figured it out, but what I do knows that it’s time to take a breath and move on and start figuring out how to be again. And maybe if I can figure out how to simply exist without all this sadness and anger, I can also figure out how to be happy.

I have to try, I have to try, I have to try. My life depends on it.


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