I wasn’t a happy person when I was younger. I always came off like I was because, well…that’s “who I am”: The funny girl, comic relief, spazatroid. From about age 7 on, that was my modus operandi. It was a fantastically effective coat of armor to protect from bullies – they’d usually shake their head and walk away once they realized that I was always going to laugh my ass off at them. Someone laughing at them like a crazy person wasn’t nearly as fun as a crier as it turns out.
When people around me were unhappy, I would wave my hands, “HEY, LOOK! FUNNY SHIT HAPPENING! STOP BEING SAD!” My mission in life was to try to keep everyone around me happy. Not always successful, but goddamn it, I tried.
I hit my late twenties and started to grow extremely frustrated that I was not happy. Because my attempt at keeping everyone else happy was not doing much to keep myself happy, not completely. And it was if it just occurred to me that this was bullshit.
I spent my thirties taking my happiness into my own hands. And by taking my happiness into my own hands, I mean still being utterly unhappy, but taking wild stabs at changing that.
I did some really crazy shit. A lot of insanely crazy shit. I met some fantastically interesting, damaging, dangerous, horrible, and/or wonderful people. People who taught me a lot. Not all lessons are good.
I continued to do things that were horrible for me as a human being, but dammit, THEY WERE FUN…at the time.
People told me all the time, “God you lead an interesting life! HOW MUCH FUN you’re having!”
Of course, they had no idea. Don’t get me wrong, I was having a lot of fun. But only about 1/10 of my fun was “visible”. There was a lot going on that was on a “need to know basis”.
As I neared forty, my mindset was, you know what? I could die and I could NOT say my life was boring. Not a chance.
I had tried the marriage thing, clearly to the wrong person, but I had tried it. I had a few post-divorce long term relationships; one that was just as horrible as the marriage, one that was calm and somewhat stabilizing, but not fulfilling on any level, and one that was plain ridiculous.
I had decided, well, clearly I’m not meant to be bonded to anyone, not a “life-partner” of any sort. I mean it really is great when that’s out there for people, but everyone isn’t alike, and I’m ok with that.
I used to fantasize about living alone. Oh it sounded glorious. No one to be accountable to, I’d come and go as I pleased. I’d maybe get a cat. Or a dog. Or an alligator. Seven alligators. Who cares?
But I could get hit by a bus and it would be ok. Or a giant anvil (I watched a lot of cartoons) could fall out of the sky and smoosh me.
…as long as it hit me hard and I went quick because, come on, any other way would really suck.
My daughter was in her twentiess and out of the house, my son was close to being an adult himself. I could probably go at any time, and that would be ok.
I love my children more than oxygen, but they didn’t need me anymore, did they? They’d be good.
Oh wait, I’d feel horrible for my mother, as she’d already lost a child. I can’t do that do her again. Maybe I should wait until she’s gone.
But THEN…then it would be ok.
I was not suicidal by any stretch of the imagination. I was not planning to hurl myself off a cliff. I wasn’t despondent.
I was just done. Full. Check please…when you get a chance, no hurry. Whenever you get around to it.
Fast forward to today.
I have no idea who that woman was.
I mean I SORT of recognize me. Parts of who I was, or, rather, who I THOUGHT I was are definitely still there. I’m not another species, but I’m calmer now. I’m quieter. I’m starting to feel like I can be “still” without causing mock concern from the people around me.
I met someone almost 5 years ago, re-met actually as I knew him from a prior life, and he told me I was wrong. I was wrong about everything.
I was wrong about what was enough for me. I was wrong about how I should feel about who I was. And I was wrong about being done.
I was not full. I was starving and I had no idea I was even hungry.
He made me remember that there are things worth fighting for. Like my life and my happiness.
Which I did. And I am. And I will continue to do.
I could die today. And I would die happy.
But I goddamn well better not.
I am now terrified of dying early for the first time in years because I am happy now. I have things to do. I have plans for the distant future, plans that have never occurred to me to make before.
I have someone I want to see every day for the rest of my life, and that life needs to go on a while, if you don’t mind.
I have someone I don’t want to leave behind. The love of my life has shown up this late in life, and I am not done with him, not by a goddamn long shot.
I am not done watching my children grow. I’m not sure if they realize it, but they are not done with me either.
And now I have a grandchild on the way.
I want to smack my old self for not having the foresight to see what could be – my stupid lack of psychic abilities nearly caused me to miss it. All of it.
So I’m not done. At least I better not be, god knows we can’t always plan for an anvil falling out of the sky in a spectacularly unlikely fashion, but it better not. Dammit.
But if one did….you could say I died happy.
(…and you could never say my life was boring.)