Present and unaccounted for

A new take on happiness

I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. I’ve even begun expecting to be happy, which is intensely strange. I’ve gotten used to skeptical looks when I say I’m happy, too, like I just don’t know any better than to be happy.

I’ve attained several of my life goals. I’m a writer. I wanted to write even as a child, and I actually said so when I was 16. I started a journal when I was 33. That’s how long it took me to screw up my courage to write anything at all, and that’s another thing I’ve accepted. Truman Capote was famous young. I’m still not famous, and I’m a writer anyway.

I have fine sons. I say fine because I like them. I’ve known several parents who didn’t seem to like one or more of their children. Some never seemed glad to see their kids and they never talked about them except as problems and mouths to feed, sometimes when the child was right there. So I’ve always been happy that I like my sons. I like having them around.

I have a loving wife. I’m tempted to say “long-suffering” too, but of course suffering is optional, so I won’t. I also no longer feel sorry for her for having married me. Sympathy, yes; guilt, no.

Now and then I forget who I am and start thinking that all this stuff about the importance of the breath just means that I don’t deserve breath either, along with fame and fortune. I just don’t think it long. Now I recognize that, although the drivel is knocking around in my own personal brain, that thought is not only not me, I just caught it, like a cold that’s going around. Nobody deserves anything.

I like stories, and they appear on their own, so I at least try to feature the ones that make me smile. When the old bushwa shows up, I don’t pay it any mind past noticing it, and I save wallowing for my fantasies, for which I also forgive myself.

I’m not trying to accomplish anything in particular past recognizing the good in each moment. What I was trained to think of as laziness was my appreciation of the stillness underneath it all and the clarity that comes with it. That sounds pretty highfalutin and esoteric to me, but that about sums it up. I try to be present, and I forgive myself for drifting into the future or the past. Then I come back to the present, and so on. I like it.