A happiness challenge to myself
When was the last time I was truly happy for more than a few hours, maybe a few days? I think that it has been many years, and I have been trying to figure out the things that at one time gave me great joy… this is not an easy thing to analyze.
In the middle, of course there were many ‘moments’ of great joy, triumph and even pure elation. I can only speak for me, but I suspect this is more the norm than the exception. Explore my thoughts with me… if you dare to enter my mind for a while.
Think back – way back. Were you happy as a child? I was fortunate enough to have a fairly carefree childhood, and I can likely count the bad times on all of my fingers and toes. I was raised in a nuclear family, Dad had a Government job and Mom worked at our school once we were all old enough to make our own lunches, babysit ourselves after school, etc. I know we had the normal money problems – we were not rich by any means, but comfortable. We had a single family home in a normal suburban neighbourhood of a small town (Hanna, AB). We were allowed to choose & participate in sports, roam the streets freely once our homework was done and until the streetlights came on OR until dinnertime. I was a bit of a Bible nut, so there was also church or church events several times a week. Hell, I was even a “Whirlybird for Jesus” – it is a thing – Google it. LOL. We vacationed for several weeks every summer, which consisted of pulling the RV to various spots in Alberta and British Columbia and it was amazing!
Fast forward to 2021 – I have been struggling… real struggles. I have been depressed on and off for two years – most of the time I just want to give up – suicide is a recurring theme… long version suicide: Maybe I will eat myself to death. I could eat all of the bad and delicious things until my body shuts down. Smoking is a great idea! I will start smoking again, until I am riddled with cancer. I know – attack the liver! Start drinking Rum with the voracity of the 23 year-old version of myself and go out in a haze! COVID is awful – the damage has been done. The economy is destroyed, businesses lost or shuttered, relationships battered & lost, a bitter divide between people has been created and re-enforced by the media with dizzying ruthlessness.
How does one not only survive all of this, but walk out the other side a stronger, happier person? I do not know the answer, but I intend to try. Let’s return to paragraph 3 and I will give my answers. “Think back – way back. Were you happy as a child? What made me happy as a child? as a teen? and into adulthood?
Childhood: reading, my cousins, bicycles, motorcycles, the library, fishing, baseball (playing),science, hiking and exploring, my geeky friends and our silly clubs.
Teen years: bicycles, driving, motorcycles, baseball (watching – but mostly the sounds of the ball diamond), girls, reading, fishing, the library, martial arts, building weapons, music, cooking, camping, movies, parties, talking, friendships, mischief, hard work.
Adulthood: music, food, coffee, friendships, motorcycles, family.
Whoah! The list became very short. What happened to all of those things that used to make me so happy? I think I have my starting point. I will start small and pour a coffee, pick up a book, find some baseball on the internet to listen to, and go for a long drive with some amazing music. For the time being at least, I am going to forgo the drinking, smoking and eating myself to death!