One important thing I’ve learned in my life so far is that happiness should never depend on a certain condition. I should never put my well-being on hold until a better time comes, never waiting until “this” happens or “that” ends. If I constantly worry about how to get from square a to square b, I’ll miss out on my current chance for happiness.
Writing that immediately makes me think of a quote I once saved in college:
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Mark Twain
I’ve read books before that have talked about happiness as a now kind of thing, but I never really understood that truth until recently trying to practice it.
I have mistakenly been saying, when my lips heal and I can kiss Chris, I’ll be happy again. Or when my lips heal I won’t feel miserable anymore because I won’t have any problem. When I heal, I’ll be ready for another baby. And by basically putting my life on hold, I’ve been ignoring all the good in my life–like I’ve been half awake living, just going day to day waiting for better to arrive at my doorstep.
When I feel overwhelmed or I don’t have the answers or I want to skip out and onto the next phase of my life, if I simply think of what I currently have, I’m immediately fulfilled. I’ll visually go through my day and say a small prayer of thanks for all the little things that made me feel particularly alive, like on Sunday, when I was in one room laughing with my three siblings dancing to Men in Hat’s Safety Dance.
And I’ve been getting better and better at doing this grateful thoughts stuff, slowly making healthy everyday habits because it feels so good to do so. Sometimes I write an appreciation list in my journal, or think it up mentally while driving in the car.
I know that if I concentrate on the things I already have, more can come into my life. But if I focus on lack and wanting to change because I don’t like where I currently am, I’ll never have enough and I’ll never get to where I truly want to go.
This now seems like a basic principle of my life; it’s taken me the past almost nine years to understand what now feels like such a simple Universal law.
At this morning’s 6AM yoga class, a student was talking about the thirty seventh birthday he just had, and I immediately thought, my mom was thirty-eight. This man doesn’t look old because being in your thirties isn’t old, and just like that–for the first time–I couldn’t believe how absolutely young you were when you died.
I’ve always known you got sick too soon, but my perspective is changing more and more as the people I’m surrounded with are virtually becoming your time frozen age.
If I was to die at the age of thirty-nine in thirteen years, I would make sure to do one thing: have lots of children.
Honestly, I don’t feel there’s anything else more important for me to do: not travel, not go back to school and land a high ranking career, not even writing this book. If I have my children and get the opportunity to raise them in a loving environment, one that they’ll always remember as your kids do, I will be satisfied. If I can teach them to be authentically themselves in a world that is always trying to change them, I will have done my job. And if I maintain a healthy and loving relationship with their father while doing both of those things, in my eyes, I will have led the most lush and thriving and authentic version of my life.
I know the opinion will waver from person to person, but that doesn’t matter to me. I respect my friends who are career driven, or who want to see the world during their twenties. For so long I’ve wanted to throw marriage and children at them like, “What are you waiting for! This is the best ever!” but that’s just not the case for everyone. Instead, let me feel thankful that I’ve followed my path and ended up where I’ve wanted and all the while, give my friends the love and space to do the same.
And since I’m sure on having a big family, and since I’m sure that happiness should never be put aside for things to work themselves out, I am ready for another baby.
Did ya hear me, Mom? I’m finally ready, after all the doubting and questioning and weighing of pros and cons.
The change kind of happened overnight, but the decision feels honest and true and of my gut.
I’ve been solely focusing on what negative things will happen when I get pregnant, like not being able to drink a beer, or feeling tired, or getting a big belly, etc. I’ve been focusing on how hard the change will be and how utterly scary it feels and what my memory of taking care of a newborn remembers.
A few weeks ago at the house, Chris and I had a low key party with twenty or so of our friends. Everett was up for the first hour, loving all the attention and everyone equally loved playing with him. It was nice to hear people say, you’re such a good Mom or you guys have such a nice house, because lately, I’ve been caught up in the wrong side of things.
Being online and seeing these bloggers with beautiful clean homes and expensive hip outfits makes me feel less of a mom because there are people out there with “more” than me. Or in the real world, I am a handful younger than every mom I know, and they’re in different stages of their journey, with more things figured out than me. And again, that makes me feel less.
The worst part? Because I can’t give Everett you, all this time I’ve felt like a step down from other mothers who can provide a grandma for their child. Isn’t that silly thinking?
All of these things have literally made me question if I’m equipped enough to handle another baby.
When our house was packed with friends of our age, it suddenly dawned on me that I did everything I could to get out of that young stage of my life where I still had the freedom and ability to drink until I couldn’t feel my face. It dawned on me that I have something a lot of my girlfriends are wanting and waiting for: a family.
Understanding that makes me feel ahead of the game and exactly where I’m supposed to be. My now is more than enough. And I promise myself that from this moment on, I’ll never feel belittled from other mothers and what they have because there’s a reason the saying the grass is always greener on the other side is a line everyone knows.
Focusing on what I don’t have or the things I can’t buy or what will change when we have another baby, has been shifting my energy to places it cannot possibly be powerful because I’m worrying about problems that don’t exist yet. When I worry, I’m placing myself in a moment that hasn’t happened and probably never really will.
What about thinking of how far I’ve come in the last few years and what I’ve created with Chris? What about thinking of all the clothes I already have in my closet? What about thinking of bringing another life into this world and Everett being a big brother? What about thinking about the health and wealth my family has?
No more lack. No more what ifs. No more wishing I was somewhere else. Because where I am is beautiful and abundant. No more when I heal because I am healing in my own time and I trust that my body knows what to do more than my analyzing mind that keeps trying to find an answer.
I read this at the end of Sunday’s yoga class:
If all you did was just look for things to appreciate, you would live a joyous, spectacular life. If there was nothing else that you came to understand other than just looking for things to appreciate, it’s the only tool you would ever need to predominantly hook up with who you really are. Appreciation is the magic formula you’ve been seeking.
Life feels blooming when I think of what I have first and then dream of what I want. Grasping that concept in the everyday is truly changing my life and making me more happy. And if you were still living, I know without a doubt that I would’ve never dug for these answers to questions I would’ve never had to think of.
One more thing. Everett does have you, and I can give you to him, every time he sees pictures, watches videos, or when I explain where it is that you are. I can give Everett you when I teach him your constant presence and how there is no this place or that place, no death do us part. I’ll teach him how everything is connected, and that you and I and he are all together interlaced in a way that’s so beautifully detailed, there aren’t words to quite make sense of it.
There are times I believe Everett will know you in a more special and profound way than if you were still here to babysit or be in physical person when he blows out his birthday candles each year. And it will always be my responsibility to teach him just that.
I promise you, I will.