It’s a long time since I’ve been happy.
In the last year or so I’ve managed glimpses of happiness, moments in time where something (usually my niece) gave me a momentary feeling of happiness, even an hour or two. I’ve had days when I’ve not felt as bad as usual, and over the summer my mood was markedly improved. I did not have to be high to feel okay, I managed it on my own sometimes.
As I’ve slowly started putting my life back together after the events of recent years, I’ve found happiness and hope to be the two things most difficult to hold onto. They are fleeting, flighty creatures, always dancing away from you, always just out of reach. Often as not by the time you realise you are feeling them the moment has passed, they are gone, and you are left fumbling after them, whimpering pathetically.
Hope, I have found, is something that has come back to me with time. It is still not a thing I can hold onto for long, but it is certainly something I am managing to feel more and more often, and for longer and longer stretches.
Happiness on the other hand, is considerably more elusive. I have noticed that it is easy to feel happy when something very GOOD is happening. When I see my niece I feel happy, even when I’m depressed I feel better, because she is a bright spot in my world that simply can’t be dimmed. She is a GOOD thing that makes me feel happy. When she is not around however, I find it difficult to replicate the feeling I have when I’m with her. Thinking about her can make me smile, but it doesn’t necessarily make me happy.
Today I found myself doing something I haven’t done in a VERY long time. I was smiling for no reason. Nothing particularly earth shattering happened today, I had a pleasant time at my writing group, but there’s nothing unusual there, they’re a wonderful bunch of people. I’m almost always happy when I’m with them. They regularly make me smile. Usually though, I begin the long drive home and that feeling ebbs. It runs away from me, and try as I might to hold onto it, I fail. It is not enough that there are things in my life that can make me happy, they are too infrequent, to transitory, to allow me to build up any kind of permanent feelings of pleasure, of cheerfulness, of simple contentment.
Today was different. Today, on the drive home, even after I got home, even now as I sit typing this, I find I am smiling for no reason.
Today I am happy.
And that gives me hope.