During one of those wonderful holiday conversations when you’re catching up with family in a more in-depth way than even daily phone conversations can accomplish, talk turned to how I’ve been doing since I quit my job to stay home with the kids. And my mom asked me a question I wasn’t really prepared to answer.
“Are you happy?”
I gave the dish I was working on a good stir before responding.
“No,” I said. “I’m content with my life, but I wouldn’t say that I’m happy.”
“And when was the last time you were happy?” Mom asked.
“High school?” I ventured. “I don’t know.”
I tried to steer the conversation in a different direction, but Mom and my mother-in-law were determined to find out what was causing my mild misery.
The big problem is that even I don’t know. I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful, healthy children. I have loving parents and great siblings. I was unhappy in my job, but I left it. And I’m getting to stay home with my kids, which is something I’ve wanted to do since Cera was born six years ago.
That’s not to say that everything is just peachy. I sometimes feel like I’ve thrown away four years of education and more than 10 years of career experience to engage in an endless cycle of doing laundry, washing dishes and changing diapers. It’s not unusual for weeks to pass where the only places I go are the grocery store, the kids’ schools and the library, which makes me feel a bit like a prisoner in my own home. But those are recent developments, and it’s been years since I’ve been happy – if I ever truly have been.
“I guess I’m just not a happy person,” I told my holiday kitchen audience.
And as those words crossed my lips, something miraculous happened:
I actually started to feel happy. In fact, since that conversation, I’ve been happier than I’ve been in years.
Maybe all it took was acknowledging that I don’t have a happy personality. Or maybe I suddenly realized just how much I have to be thankful for.
Whatever it was, I’m just happy to be happy. And I’m going to try to keep it that way.