Last night, I was speaking with a very wise older woman named Jane who sort of reminds me of my grandmother (who is also named Jane, may she rest in peace). This woman said that, "The thing is, we aren't going to be happy all the time. Life isn't all about being happy, no one is happy all the time and that shouldn't be the goal. The whole pursuit of happiness idea can be very misleading. Life is about being able to handle what comes at you". Now, I pretty much agree with this statement. But my take on this is a bit different.
I do think that Jane is right- life is not about being happy all the time. I don't exactly enjoy having feelings of sadness, loss, or anger when they arrive on the scene in my life. I don't like having hard days at work or having pain physically or emotionally. It sucks. But it is good for me. How would I even enjoy the happy times if I didn't have sad times to compare them to? I appreciate a good day a lot more after a crappy one. I love to bask in sunshine after a cold winter.
Even though the hard times help me grow, I still wish life were happy all the time. But that isn't reality. Even for an Uptown Girl like me.
In the last few years I have been through my share of suffering and sadness. Although I would never wish to see those days again, and I wouldn't wish hard times on anyone, I have to admit that I do find meaning in the suffering (now that I'm thru much of it!).
One of my all-time favorite quotes is from "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring". It is a conversation between Frodo and Gandalf.
Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
This is one of those quotes that speaks to me. I keep it stored away in the back of my mind and think about it when I need it. What I want to do with my time is keep up the pursuit of happiness and pay attention to the lessons on the way there.
And I've grown leaps and bounds (if I do say so myself). I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned the hard way that I need to trust my gut in decision making. I've learned that if I set my mind to a daunting task I can accomplish it. I've learned to let myself feel pain and hurt rather than stuff or avoid negative feelings. I've learned to cry when I feel like crying and laugh the rest of the time. All in the pursuit of happiness and health.
Life isn't about being happy all the time, it is about the pursuit. In the pursuit of happiness we hit bumps on the road and detours taking us down back alleys; we go off-roading at times and we get flat tires (to stick with the analogy). And if we missed all that and arrived at the destination of happiness without the twists and turns and flat tires, we would also miss life lessons on how to
Who knows what is next for me? Maybe I'll arrive at perfect happiness sooner than I think, but probably not. I will keep up the pursuit.