Heaving a great sigh of contentment

I think of myself as a generally happy person. My life is a good one: I have family, work, faith, joy, hope and a pot of tea at my elbow. As I was reading the updates that I last posted back from 2004, though, nearly every one was super stressed. (I’m not posting all of them, I’m only posting the good ones, which is about 1/20.) My friends seem to be the same way. I could swear one or two of them start nearly every post with the thesis “Today is not going well”.

I’m currently reading The Happiness Project on my husband’s Kindle, and at some point while talking about relationships, she says that it takes something like 5 positive interactions to “erase” the effects of one negative interaction. So even if you talk 50/50 sad/happy, you will come across as sad. However, when you live life against a backdrop of love, comfort and sufficiency, the exceptional elements of your day are LIKELY to be bad. I live such a rich and joyful life that most of the surprises will almost by definition HAVE to be negative — there’s not much up to go!

So I wanted to take a moment to appreciate the fact that I’m exceptionally happy right now, both in the “right this minute” and the “generally” sense. As far as “right this minute”? I’m on day 1.5 of my 2 week sojourn in relaxedness. I spent the morning very productively doing errands and chores that needed to be done. I got up on time and without whining (which hopefully made the morning more pleasant for my long-suffering husband). I got the boys ready and out the door and to their appropriate locations. I dropped off two huge bags of clothes for charity, bought an outrageous amount of cat food and dropped off a stool sample (4 months late). Then I came home, walked to the post office, bleached the comforter, folded the church tablecloths, cleaned off the porch, potted a plant, adjusted some furniture in the attic, vacuumed and steam cleaned the carpet in the entry way, and cleaned up the “for yardsale/charity” section in the basement, pulling out four MORE bags of clothes to be given away. My productivity was rewarded with a tuna sandwich.

Then I came up to my bedroom, which is just lovely in the noonday light with the purple walls. I have the new reading chair my MIL bought me, which is very comfy. I have created a section of the room where I can sit and read or write. I think that with my new job, this will be my blogging-spot, possibly in the waning hours of the evening. (Up until now, we haven’t ever had any of our computers in our bedroom. We have an office. I hesitated, because I know it’s not great for sleeping, but since I’m hardly ever insomniac, I figured I’d give it a try. Plus, it can all be out of sight.) I have a pot of flowering tea on my night stand, a beautiful tea cup and a bowl full of sugar cubes. I have a book, and an “Excellent” connection to my wifi, which I just used to spend 20 minutes looking up information on Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs. (Did you know he was an opera singer? And was raised Presbyterian?) I have nowhere I have to be and nothing I must do until daycare pickup tonight, although I hope for another bout of productivity towards the end of the afternoon.

In general terms, it’s just a great life. I was doing something the other day, and thinking that it would be more fun to do if my husband was there. How awesome is it that after 10 years of marriage and 14 together (ok, almost) I still just long to be with my husband? And that he wants to be with me? And the boys are awesome. Last night I sat on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and my eldest son, and we watched the first half of the Superbowl together. I explained why all New England Patriots fans can’t stand Payton Manning and who the quarterback is and we watched The Who and he cuddled into me. He showers me with kisses, and “Grey attack!”s me with hugs. He tells me he loves me. Thane, I discovered, is also pushing through a molar. This took me by surprise because he hasn’t gotten his canines yet, and usually they come first. This might be why he’s been cranky recently, in addition to ear surgery. But this has expressed itself as the desire to be held. He’ll lay his head on my shoulder, arms around my neck, and lie contented and still, curls tickling my mouth. They both get the hiccups when they laugh too hard.

And I thought, as I cleaned the carpets this morning, I really like my house. It’s more than big enough. The floor plan is super-practical. It’s comfortable, and has the feel of a home. It’s strong and sturdy. It has reasons it needs us — for example whose brilliant idea was it to carpet the entryway! But it really feels like home. And I like my town, and my church family is just a great joy.

I know how richly blessed I am. I know that the future will hold different things than the present. But right here, right now, life is full of joy.

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

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