Maria came up to me tonight and hugged me, and thanked me for helping to find herself, to help her get her life back. Now, she knows, she said, that she would never lose it, never go back. She was crying. She told me that she loved me. Funny, I said, I was thinking the very same thing about you. My life began in so many ways when I met you, and I love you very much too. And so we stood in the doorway of the kitchen, hugging one another, holding the other close.
We've had some exciting years, some tough ones, but every day has been a great day, and the truth is, I have never been happier, or even happy before. What a miracle that is.
Leo Tolstoy wrote that "If you want to be happy, be…" It's good advice. I didn't realize until fairly recently that happiness is a choice, not the gift of deity or an accident of fate. We are responsible for our lives. Lately, I've been writing about some heavy subjects — I've been in a reflective mood and I much enjoy expanding the range of my blog writing.
I'm getting lots of nice messages about my writing lately, people keep telling me that I'm maturing and deepening. I don't know about that, but my freelance editor, who is tough, says my writing is more beautiful than ever. It's very easy to please a writer, just praise them. The only word I ever want to hear about my writing is "brilliant," and I have yet to hear it from anyone but one book reviewer in Baltimore. I will always love her.
Something to strive for.
I do not intend for the blog to be relentlessly heavy, it is, in many ways, a celebration of life. But you can never completely relax. Today, the sometimes very creepy mayor of New York City resumed his war on the carriage horses. Time to saddle up again, I'll be writing about it tomorrow. The mayor concedes to friends he has to honor his promise to the animal rights people who spent $1 million dollars to defeat his major opponent in the mayor race, and have already given him $100,000 this year. Yuk.
They used to call that bribery, not it is called campaign finance.
The new plan is even dumber and sillier than the first ones, it will not succeed. I understand why the carriage trade people were reluctant to have a thank you ceremony. They do not yet feel there is anything to celebrate. More tomorrow.
One person messaged me to say there was a lot of serious stuff on the blog lately, and she hoped I wasn't depressed. I thanked her but pointed out heavy is not the same as depressing. Not in my mind. The thing is after I fell apart awhile back I promised myself I would learn about myself and share the journey.
Part of the journey is discovering, over and over again, the many things about me that were troubled or messed up. Quite a long list for one aging man, and I never seem to be finished. But that does not mean I am sad. I get sad once in awhile, it is cleansing and healthy. But never for long.
I am very happy. I am living my life in a meaningful way. I love every day of my life, being with Maria, writing, taking photos, working with the dogs, seeing my friends. This morning, Fate and I went out for our daily lesson, and one by one, the sheep went after her. They butted her, kicked her, charged at her, stomped their feet, even trampled her. Once or twice, she yelped in pain or surprise.
Each time, she came right back in a tried again, and again. They could not discourage her, run her off, frighten her. She went eye to eye, nose to nose. It was intense, like one of those grand old boxing matches between sluggers. This is why I love Fate. She does not quit, she cannot be deterred or discouraged.
She inspires me, I like to think we mirror one another.
This is where we connect, I think. I will not quit or be discouraged either. My willfulness has brought many good and bad things to my life, but the truth it, it has finally brought me happiness. For most of my life, I had no idea what happiness even was. I love who I am, what I do, who I do it with, where I am. I don't know that I could ever do better than that, it isn't something money or security could be.
In a sense, I have learned that happiness is a choice, not an accident. If you want to be happy, be. So I am.
For me, happiness is the total inability to make any evil or dishonest choices. When everything I desire is truly good and every choice not only aspires to be good but more and more, is good and attains that desire. Then I can be free and be happy because everything that I want moves towards fulfillment. I often fail, but I often succeed, more and more all the time.
I will never be satisfied. I hope not, stasis and complacency are just a benign form of suicide. Happiness for me, I told is friend recently, is taking my head out of my ass and keeping it there.