As my wife whistles joyfully nearby while she works on a coloring project, I wonder why I’m not similarly joyful.
Am I happy with my life? No. Am I unhappy? No. Then what am I?
Unlike my wife’s demented four year old mind, I’m many years past childhood. I can remember those happy days, but then life got complicated and so did happiness.
It seems my feelings about “happiness” have been evolving for years. Childish delight and wonder was run over by a need to accomplish things, win races, climb mountains. There was an ecstatic high when such goals were achieved. This was happiness. Of course, I often failed. Then came a life choice, is “happiness” about winning or simply doing my best? Sometimes “yes,,” sometimes “no,” depending on my mood and maturity in the moment.
Enter the paradox of people. My biggest joys have come in celebration with others. But my darkest times have also been caused by people. Another “happiness” question, do I need to get everything I want or is compromise enough? Compromise has become easier over the years. Age has mellowed my need to climb mountains.
Then I lost my sight. I realized that much of what had made me happy were things that I could see. That world disappeared and I became very depressed. It took some months, but I adapted to my much constrained life and found some satisfaction in being able to operate independently. However, I was a long, long way from “happiness” at that point.
Blindness seems to have prepared me for the next challenge, dealing with my wife’s dementia. My much smaller world fits well with her smaller life needs. Happiness for her is a walk to the water, babbling about all she sees and hears, knowing that I’m listening. Making breakfast together is a delight for her. Visiting with friends is the highpoint of her day. I’m able to make such things happen.
I take satisfaction from such service.
Am I happy? No. Unhappy? No. But, at this point in life, I am content.
Most of the time.
You might also enjoy: My Dementia Diary 10 – Where’s the Spatula?, My Dementia Diary
It is the human condition that we must lose our joy to know we ever had it.
Being able to make breakfast with one who has stuck by you through the years is a gift many ache to be able to know or know again.
How is it that you type and blog? I take it you use assistive devices.
I agree, the deeper measures of what love can be cannot be experienced until we’ve gone on beyond distant corners of time.
Yes, I am fortunate to be living in the golden age of technology for the disabled. VoiceOver is a voice/text reader that allows me to write, listen to what I’ve written, and also listen to any other text on my computer screen, such as internet sites like blogs. The VoiceOver app is available on all Apple operating systems, so I can use it on the computer, phone, and tablet. Similar software is available for Windows devices. I shared more about this in my blog tab titled “Blind Blessings.”
Thanks for checking in, I always enjoy the insights you post on your own blog.