Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Visit from the Happiness Fairy

Where have I been?

Living -- and enjoying every minute of it.

It's funny, but I woke up this morning and realized that I've turned some kind of corner. What I realized is, I've been so anxious and tense for so long that I haven't been able to enjoy life. I was seeing my day as one long checklist of things to do, and taking no enjoyment in doing any of the tasks.

Of course, I was also accomplishing this massive to-do list at a breakneck pace, which simply couldn't be sustained. The crash was coming -- and hit hard.

When school -- both my day job and my night job -- ended the last week of May, I was really too stunned to enjoy it. I didn't have as much to do but I did it anxiously. Walked the dog anxiously, read anxiously, pounded the treadmill anxiously, folded the laundry anxiously. On the rare occasions when I saw friends, I coudn't even sit still. My mind raced. Every 20 seconds or so, I took out my phone and added another item to my to-do list.

In the last two weeks, I've rediscovered relaxation. I've indulged in daily naps. I've read a dozen books, picking up whatever interests me at that exact moment. I've spent ten, fifteen minutes at a time doing nothing but petting Baxter and listening to him groan with happiness.

Yesterday morning I sat on our back patio with a glass of iced tea and listened to the sounds of the neighborhood, grinning like a fool. Last night, six of us sat around the same table, draining three bottles of wine and telling fantastic stories, ranging from squid sperm to Stephen King to our favorite series finale episodes. (The new me is even willing to forgive the others for not agreeing that it's absolutely, hands down, the last episode of M*A*S*H.) Meanwhile, Baxter dragged water bottles from the recycling and crunched them in the yard.

At some point it occurred to me that life was pretty much perfect.

This morning, once my wine-induced haze faded, I knew I just needed to enjoy it.

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