When did you last fall down laughing?
Happiness. What is it? I’ve struggled with this question for more than a week now, rewritten this blog post several times, and still am not satisfied with my answers.
But happiness seems so obvious, you say. It’s when you feel good, light, joyous, filled with laughter, or at least smiles.
Is that all?
My struggle with this subject should come as no surprise to me as I can’t say I’ve felt anything close to happy since I lost my sight. That experience left me very unhappy, depressed, lost in a dark funk.
Thinking back some months, I sense I was disappointed, feeling a deep sense of loss for what I’d hoped my life would be, especially since the year prior to my sight loss was one of the most joyous and happy times I’d ever known.
Time, perseverance, and the love of others have combined to bring me back from that bleak blackness, and now I find myself at a tipping point, considering which path to take forward. Happiness or gloom, joy or despair?
My choice. My life. My responsibility.
I am aware that happiness in my life has taken many forms, and that as the years have flown across my life, what brings me joy has shifted like the beach sands swept by ocean waves. I don’t remember exactly when I last laughed so hard I ached, but it was long ago, it was a different Tio Stib laughing hysterically that day. I am now more closed, less open to spontaneous joy, guarded, waiting for the bad rather than hoping for the good. It will take considerable effort to change this point of view to an attitude that smiles expectedly at life each day.
An effort I need to make, for without this positive sense of well-being, why bother getting up in the morning? Why bother arising only to feel badly?
My joys are more subtle now. The fragile feeling of a new flower blossom. The sweet scent of honeysuckle unexpectedly slipping into my nose. Songbirds flitting by leaving my ears to puzzle what has just happened. The voices of those I love and care for suddenly filling my head. Small things, small wonders, simple pleasures.
I wonder if this is merely the process of living, starting with the innocence of children, changing to the exuberance of youth, then the pleasures of adulthood, and finally the sweet, soft memories of age.
Am I happy?
Not the way I used to be, but I do find myself feeling peaceful and content at moments. I’m still climbing the mountain of the dream I came here to be. Hope has once again begun to green up in the garden of my mind, and my heart now stands anxiously high in the tree of life, a young bird trembling, yet aching to soar
Yes, we will fly free once more.
Yours to count on,
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