Even if happiness forgets you for a little bit, never completely forget about it. (Jacques Prevert, French poet and screenwriter, 20th century)
An old boyfriend once told me, "Don't depend on me for your happiness." Our relationship had been a rollercoaster ride of emotions for me until then (because he wasn't a very good boyfriend, to put it mildy), but I realized he was right. Like Dorothy trying to find her way home from Oz, I had the power to be happy inside of me the whole time. I just didn't know it or use it until then. I've always been grateful to him for opening my eyes to that truth. Unfortunately, I don't think he ever realized the truth of what he taught me himself - I think he was still searching for happiness, mostly in the wrong places, up until the day he died a few years ago. Or maybe he had just given up.
Soon after we moved into our house, Tom expressed frustration on one of our walks that I didn't seem worried enough about all of the "wolves" waiting to devour us...I can't remember exactly what they were at the time, but I'm sure they all had to do with money - house loans plus construction deadlines equals stress, especially when you're doing it yourself. He was close to killing himself between working his regular job, trying to finish the house, and worrying about it all.
Even though he couldn't see it, I felt the pressure, too. I was trying to do whatever I could to help with the house, plus take care of everything else so he wouldn't have to worry about anything BUT the house. I just knew there was only so much I could do; a lot of it was out of my hands, and his, for that matter. Worrying wouldn't help. Besides, I needed to set an example for my kids. I told him "We have a choice every day to be happy or not. I choose to be happy." Each day, I took care of whatever was within my power, then I focused on the good stuff, kept an eye out for the blessings (there were a lot!) and tried not to dwell on the bad. It wasn't always easy, that's for sure, but I tried.
I like the quote above from Prevert because there are still days when I just can't feel that lightness, no matter how many blessings I count, and even when there aren't any "wolves at the door"...I'm not sure if it's hormones or what, but I've learned to be patient. I know the heaviness will pass as quickly as it came.
I think happiness might mean different things to different people, or perhaps one person can find happiness where another can't. So here are a few more quotes on happiness to keep in mind...
Happiness is not a destination; it is a matter of traveling. (Haim Ginott)
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. (Helen Keller)
Happiness is not having what you want; it is wanting what you have. (Unknown)
One of the things I keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people.(D. Gregory)
I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. (Agatha Christie)
The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose. (William Cowper)
There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them. (Vickie Baum)
Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway. (Emory Austin)
The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything. (Julian of Norwich)
While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us. (Benjamin Franklin)
Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you. (Maori proverb)