It is January. And there is happiness in this house.
I'm going to talk like an old person now: (ready?)
I spent my youth and young adult life chasing things. Dreams. Lovers. Degrees. Jobs. Kids--yes, we all chase our kids. I chased things because I thought they would deliver the most essential, intangible goods:
Happiness. Stability. Admiration. Respect. Love (the deep, real kind).
Shall we call them the Good Five? Somewhere along the way, I realized that all these intangible goods could not be captured like some flag waving beyond our fingertips. Of course, they are only born within oneself. And they only survive with a certain stubbornness that flies in the face of Trials and that other face, Tribulations.
The fourth decade is a marvelous time, at least it has been for me. I am one of the lucky ones. My parents are still alive and healthy and adorable and kind. My children make me laugh every day, even the grown son who is off in New York, experiencing his own sort of rebirth. I write something new and challenging every year. And I'm no longer chasing flags and getting tackled along the way.
There are still moments when, in spite of working my ass off, I feel the metal blade of inadequacy slice through me. I think I'm never going to be good enough. I've got everyone fooled. But after a while, I have a quite comical realization (the sun's rays shining down in a shower of illumination) about those depressing thoughts: I'm just silly, thinking that I'm living in the shadow of the Approval of Others. I know the important people and the important things in my life, and only I can treasure them by giving them the Good Five.
This morning, our younger son had a talkative morning. He talked and talked and talked. My husband and I gave each other knowing glances and blamed each other's genetics. Then we laughed. And our son jumped between us because he wanted to share in the laughter. We laughed so much, we had to hold each other for stability. It was a morning full of happiness and stability and admiration and respect and love.