Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Makes Me Happy

Today I was prompted* to think about what makes me happy. There are lots of little things and I could list them here, but I won't because they are your garden variety joys.  Happiness, as a state of being,  is a much more interesting and ultimately more difficult thing to pin down.  My general contentment has a lot more to do with why I enjoy a morning cup of coffee than the quality of the beans.  If you know what I mean? No? Seriously?

Okay, so I could be eating lobster with hot drawn butter and a side of filet mignon and if a black cloud of blah and anxiety and non-specific ick was hanging over my head that food would taste like ash in my mouth. Conversely,  mac n' cheese straight from the box with a side of over cooked peas tastes like heaven when the sunshine is blowing directly up my butt and I've not a care in the world.  Pair up that first meal with a really great mood and I start to hallucinate unicorns and rainbows. 

My point?  Oh, yes. 

Attitude is everything and my attitude suffers mightily from being employed.  Yep, that is what ultimately makes me happy, giddy even.  I don't have a job.  I never get tired of being at home with my child.  Sure, I get tired of my child's behavior and the laundry and the dishes from time to time, but all I need to do is daydream for a moment about working retail and mopping the kitchen floor seems like a real privilege indeed.  My former co-workers teased me about getting bored and wagered I'd come back to them sooner rather than later.  As much as I wanted to stay at home, I did wonder if they were on to something.  If everyone says it, it must be true, right? 

People talk a good game about how motherhood / parenthood / fatherhood made them better, or happier or whatever and I can't disagree, entirely.  But, what has really made me more productive, more patient, more loving and more likely to see a rainbow in a shit storm, is being at home. Working drained me.  At the end of the day I was lifeless.  All my smiles and patience got dished out to perfect strangers.  By the time I got home, all I wanted to do was become one with my TV and cuddle up (silently) with my husband. I had no desire to socialize, at all. I was very isolated.  I can't imagine coming home in that condition and trying to parent a child.  

Of course, this has a lot to do with my hyper-sensitive, introverted personality.  I was really good at retail because I am extremely intuitive and observant of human behavior.  That combination of skills takes up a lot of energy.  Becoming a full-time parent made me realize that all that energy I was pouring into meeting the needs of customers could be used to make our life as a family better. At first, Aaron was terrified of being the sole wage earner, but my dramatic shift to an even-tempered, happy and productive human has eased his fear.  If Mama's not happy, ain't nobody happy.

*Lorry inspired this post and technically I am supposed to tag six more people, but I will leave it up you. What makes you happy?  I'd really like to know, unless it has something to do with competitive eating or not-liking baby kittens.  You can keep that to yourself.

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