Is This What Happy Feels Like, Finally?
When I was a kid, I remember I would ride my bike and the chain would come loose a little when I’d shift gears. It would struggle to catch on the right tooth so it could settle back into place. Meanwhile, the chain would kind of skip and the bike would sputter and jar. This is exactly what the last two years of my life have felt like.
I stood in the middle of a tempest for over a year. I lost my marriage, my job and family ties. All within 15 months. I just wanted it to stop. To all be over. It eventually did stop.
My world grew a bit more quiet and that, too, felt so strange. I had a ringing in my ears. I didn’t know what I felt, other than uncomfortable.
When I felt that initial quieting, I didn’t trust it. I couldn’t tell if I was in the eye of the storm or if it had passed. The only thing I could do was to wait and see. The problem with that is it feels a lot like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. Impeding doom.
I also felt a complete loss of emotion. I almost felt numb. There was just nothing. I grew more and more concerned that my life had turned into an apathetic existence and I should feel thankful that at least it wasn’t painful. But it was.
The worst of this hit me in a tear drenched panic attack six weeks ago that lasted a hard 12 hours straight. It turns out, that was the last of the storm.
Last night, I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep and realized I wasn’t even really trying. I didn’t have to clear my mind. I wasn’t worried about anything. I wasn’t exhausted. I didn’t feel worn down mentally or emotionally. I just felt…good.
It was an amazingly beautiful moment. It actually made me laugh out loud a little. I was amused. I did what any still slightly skeptical person would do. I figured I better take inventory now.
I have been giving myself permission to let go of certain feelings for quite a while and it was time to give myself permission to get to keep a few.
I feel self acceptance. I am accepting of my flaws and we know there are many. I want to improve myself as a person in a holistic way but I feel absolutely no need to laser focus in on one thing and obliterate it from my being. I’m too old for that. Most likely, if it’s part of me, it’s going to stay. It’s the volume of that one thing I need to control.
I feel freakishly calm. Anxiety is on vacation. I hope it’s a permanent one. My mind is quiet. Very little bothers me right now. It’s more than just deciding not to care.
Looking at your life and not giving a shit is easy. Being selective and discriminate about what you care about requires hard decisions.
I care very greatly about the things I choose to make important. In order to do that, I need to carefully select those things. Not everything gets all of me. The things that do? Oh, they get every drop.
I don’t worry about the future. I have spent the last few weeks trying to lay down a plan to pay off bills, save money and completely overhaul my life in less than three years. It’s absolutely doable. It’s not a pipe dream anymore. And every day seems like it’s a little closer. This is what hope feels like. It’s extraordinary.
This feels like the beginning of happy. I have been waiting for joy to come back into my life and I finally just pulled out a chair and sat her down. Conjured her and made her stay. It feels powerful. It feels stable.
When you ride a roller coaster, there is that beautiful moment when you come to a sudden halt safely at the landing. The wind becomes still. The rush is over. You realize you’re safe and free to stand on solid ground again. I have never appreciated that moment more.