Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ask the Experts

On "Happiness"
by Lady Macbeth

This being the time of New Year’s resolutions, Author Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project) has solicited my own thoughts on the elusive subject of Happiness.* The following is my response, sent via my dear friends at the Red Room writers' blog.

I had a “big birthday” this year, so naturally it was a time of profound reflection. I’ve become masterful at finding a place for everything, whether it’s a decorative objet or a moral quandary. The big problems, the once urgent “issues,” have become almost quaint. Living with them is like taking a stroll through The Cairngorms, where my twelve sisters and I used to admire the craggy stones and tell stories about the mad MacLaren clan. My greatest challenge is (and was and always will be) ambition. I have it in spades. Recently this ambition has felt more like a burden than an admirable trait. Is that shocking to you? If it is, I apologize. Happiness, I think, might be about telling the truth (for once!).

But my ambition. I’ve been living in a world of “shoulds” for so long. I’m at a loss without a challenge, a quest, an unthinkable task . . . . In 2010, I want to appreciate that I am simply alive and experiencing life. No more “freak outs” about whether the kids are en route to Ivy League admission or whether or not my husband will make enough money for a vacation home or another cruise. Or whether he will humiliate our family once again with his weak form at the annual company baseball game.

2010 will be 365 full days for me. I want to try “Happiness” as a single day with a distinct beginning and end. A day that is not contingent on tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. I want to be Me without “should.”

Happy New Year, Everyone! Please drink responsibly.

*Granted the Red Room’s call for submissions on “Happiness” was a general call, but I strongly believe that the editors were hoping for a response from yours truly.

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