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.
My newly-bathed, ever companion
And a cup of tea… Perfect.
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: