A simple kind of happy…

It’s early Saturday afternoon and I feel happy.  Not over-the-top, I-cannot-believe-it happy, but sentimental, quiet happy.  I woke up late, basking in rare, more-than-ten hours, sleep.  Instead of jumping out of bed to conquer my usual Saturday morning to-do list, I just lay there, awakening slowly with my dog buried deep under the covers, the cat stalking us for her morning wet food, and my husband squinting at me through his own sleep, wary of my eternal enthusiasm for morning jokes and horseplay when I awaken before him.  It felt nice to linger.

Instead of pouting when he left to go have breakfast and hit up a movie with his dad, I turned up Pandora loud, tuning into my usual Iron and Wine eclecticism.  Cleaning the house I did not feel annoyed that this was the way I was spending my day off.  Instead, I felt grateful for my house, grateful for my little family of Alex, my dog, and our cat.  Grateful for the sun and a whole day without work.  Now, I’m sitting on our couch, taking in the odor of wet dog as Simon’s six-month-overdue bath was finally crossed off my to-do list, drinking a delicious cup of tea (thanks Dana!), still listening to Pandora, and typing.  I feel happy.  Like I said, not an over-the-top happy, but hopefully a more sustainable kind of happy, a real kind of happy.

My newly-bathed, ever companion
And a cup of tea… Perfect.
It’s funny how whenever I start to feel this way, I get nervous.  I become scared that it will go away too quickly.  I try to figure out how to hold on to it, how to make sure that it doesn’t disappear, allowing the anxiety of losing it to cloud the experience.  I don’t trust happiness, sad, but true.  This time, I’m trying instead to just be in it and know that when it goes, it will come back again.  I’m trying to learn to trust it.

Even so, I find myself examining the recipe for this current contentment.  This time, I think it is a culmination of the end of the holidays and the beginning of a bright year.  Last year, letting go of the holidays was unusually painful.  This year, even though they were among my favorite of this lifetime, I’m simultaneously excited for 2012:  I missed my students and enjoyed seeing them this week.  I am reinvigorated to figure out how to teach them and make them feel loved.  I cannot wait to get home each night and work on my book.  I am surrounded by amazing people.

I’m in love with my life, just as it is right now.  For once, it’s not about where I’m going, but where I am.  Wow, writing this now, I don’t actually think that I’ve ever felt like this before.  I mean, I’ve been happy, but not in this deeply satisfied, full-of-purpose, present way.  It’s actually making me tear up just to type this.  Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of pain, anxiety, and uncertainty around me, but somehow there is still this overarching sense of contentment, like I’m on the right path.  I don’t write this to brag, but instead to share, remind, and reflect, because I know that like everything, it won’t always feel this way.  Even in the course of a week, there are ups and downs that make it easy to forget how to get here.  Nonetheless, I’m still searching for the secret to consciously cultivating lasting happiness.  It has to be out there somewhere…

I leave you with these little gems, each in some way inspiration for my book and each repeat offenders on my Iron and Wine Pandora station:

Happy Saturday.

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2 thoughts on “A simple kind of happy…

  1. Tanya Leigh says:

    I love this, Liv! And am so excited you posted the Bree Sharper version of this song, I JUST discovered it on Pandora last night (I think we are very connected) and downloaded it today. So so good. My mom always told me the Bob Dylan version reminded her of me. So glad you shared this, I too would like to master the elimination of happiness anxiety.

  2. Deb says:

    Ole I loved your Sat. posting. You made me think about my own search for enduring happiness. I would like to share what I've discovered in my considerable years of experience. The secret is a simple word and will at first, without contemplation, sound rather flat but give it some thought. We have been raised to have high expectations and excel for excellence — to be the most, the best, the ultimate. And, although I still believe we should work hard and strive for a better life, my contention and my prayer for those I love is that they will find the life they have chosen to be ENOUGH. I believe that word is the most underestimated word in our culture. To look at your husband, family and friends and think this life is enough …. What a gift from God! I love you. Btw – your students are very lucky.

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