put on a happy face

I’ve been on my own with the girls for a few days, so maybe it’s easy for me to get where I’m at right now, but tonight, a stupid show on tv – a show I never watch, but keenly dislike when I do watch it – contained a line that resonated with me: something about wanting to be happy, wanting to try  to be happy. 

And I do.  I want to be happy, even if it needs trying.

I’m a serious person, I always have been.  I am pracitcal (beige, actually), and safe.  But I’m also forty-one years old, and I’m not sure what I’m doing on this planet, other than watching it orbit around the sun.  It’s a little bit sad, a little bit existential.  So many people are able to make such a big difference with their lives, and yet I seem not to.  I’m not suggesting that my existence is meaningless; I know that my children, and my husband and my parents would be devastated if anything ever happened to me.  I have friends and loved ones from here to the pacific ocean, but still, I feel like I’m not even a drop in that sea.  I feel, at times, like I should be destined for so much more.  Like I was meant to do better, meant to be something.

Maybe I won’t find a cure for cancer.  And likely I won’t write the great Canadian novel.  I probably won’t become a millionaire and donate great sums to charity, or rehabilitate criminals or save starving children in Africa.  But happiness – that I have a hope of achieving.  It’s pathetic, isn’t is, that one would have to actually aspire to happiness.  That it doesn’t just come naturally.  But for me (and god, I hope I’m not the only one) it has become too easy to fall into the role of downtrodden wifeandmother, of ploddingcivilservant, and I have to knock myself silly to get off that track.  Why would I choose frustration over joy?  Why would I opt to suffer and wallow in the injustices that befall me, rather than smile and laugh and walk on past?  We have ONE TURN on this planet of ours – what possible objective could I have by getting hung up on the stupid stuff?

I remember when I met G – those few short days in Mexico.  I felt like a different person.  I was  a different person.  I remember writing in my journal on the plane-ride home that I had shed my skin and found somebody better underneath.  It was an awesome feeling.  I was new.  I was somebody who loved myself, loved my life.  Now, these nearly-ten years later, I am afraid that I’ve fully slipped back into my old, staid, self.  And worse, that G will wake up and realize it – and what will he do then?  Will he call me on it?  Will he get angry?  Will he challenge me to find once again the person he thought he was marrying?

I’d like to beat him to the punch.  Sure, it’s easy to say that right now:  he’s away, I miss him, I love everything about our family.  But I’d really like to make an attitude adjustment.  I’d really like to find my smile.  It’s a choice, you know, happiness. 

I choose to be happy.

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