I Do Not Want Happiness

A couple years ago I was scrolling around on Pinterest, like I do, and came across this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Upon reading this I am sure I scoffed and mumbled some bullshit under my breath. At the time, I was really fucking confused. What do you mean the purpose of life is not to be happy? I thought that was the ultimate goal, the end game, right? Happiness. That is what everyone says they want to find! How the hell could happiness not be our main priority? There are 87,094 books on Amazon about finding “happiness”. This is insane. If it is not our purpose as humans, then why do we all want this illusive thing and why is it that no one seems to know how to find it?

Nine months ago my ex-husband said he needed to talk. He wasn’t happy and wasn’t sure that he was even capable of happiness and needed “time” to figure it all out. So, I too, took a step back and have been contemplating the idea of “happiness” and came to this conclusion:

Happiness is an empty word for lazy people.

Whew, I said it.

Remember back to middle school English- inevitably there were several posters like this ticky-tacked to the walls:

100 Words for "bad"

There are hundreds of more accurate and precise words.

Happy is lazy. More importantly, happy is passive.

Let us consider: content, fulfilled, utilized, honest, trustworthy, peaceful, compassionate and kind. These goals are more feasible. A blanket statement like, “I want to happy” is too big, too undefined and quite frankly, too misguided. How does one become happy? Who knows. Or maybe, ask one of the 87,094 authors on Amazon.

The idea of finding one’s happiness tends to be an outward idea. Those seeking the simplicity of happiness look for things that make them happy: a new car, new shoes, money, sex, food, vacation, cocktails. These items may bring temporary happiness for a week, a day, or maybe even just 10 minutes, but when the excitement of the thing wears off- it’s over. Happiness is consistently fleeting idea, especially when combined with tangible pursuits.

I am urging us to look deeper. Look within. Be more precise. We all want to be happy, but what else do you want?

I want to be compassionate. I want to be helpful. I want to be inspiring. I want to be loving. I want to be positive. I want to be encouraging. I want to be confident. I want to be friendly. I want to have purpose.

These are smaller, more specific goals, but most importantly, they do not rely on outside factors. The keys to compassion, inspiration, confidence and positivity lie WITHIN yourself. You cannot buy these items or rely on someone else to give you them. Their impact is not momentary. Confidence will stay housed within you forever. Compassion, once learned, is a life long skill. Positivity is a way of life.

I truly believe the only way to “be happy” is to love yourself- every little piece of you, even the dark and scary corners. When you wake up in the morning confident in your choices, you, my dear, have found the purpose of life. Stop worrying about “happiness”. Take it out of the vernacular. Happiness is lazy. Search for something greater.

xoxo

Compassionate Co-Parenting, Part 2.

My co-parent and I had been together over a decade when we agreed to divorce. We began dating in college when we were only 20 and 21 years old. We have spent over a third of our lifetimes together but our children will have little to no memory of us all living under one roof. At 6 and 3, our oldest may have a couple fleeting memories from here or there, but our son won’t have any memories at all. None. Our children will never remember waking up and crawling into bed with us for sleepy morning cuddles or cleaning the house while belting out the Frozen soundtrack or even huddling in the shower together during a tornado warnings.

Our relationship as “mom and dad” will be not be defined by our marriage, but only by our DIVORCE. They will not remember our 7 year marriage- only our lifetime of divorce. This divorce will end up being our legacy and how we handle this separation, move, and co-parenting relationship will be the foundation that our children will base their knowledge of love, support, and partnership between their parents.

Our marriage went up in flames, but holy crap, we have the incredible opportunity to have an AMAZING divorce! We can rewrite history. We can let bygones be bygones, forgive each other of our trespasses and be the best fucking co-parents on the planet! We can wipe the slate clean, begin at the ground level and start all over again. We can be the friends that once went to a J Crew sample sale in college and joked about our cobblering skills to fix a broken sole. We can be friends that once drove around one New Years Eve in my old Ford Probe looking for a party and ended up ringing in the New Year at a stop light. We can be the friends that discuss the previous night’s episode of The Daily Show (RIP) and how glad we were to see Jon Stewart in NYC before he left the show. We can be friends that commiserate over home repair and our that time we got ripped off by the roofing company after the massive hail storm. We can be friends that enjoy each other’s company while hanging with our progeny and are happy to part ways at the end of the day.

We could literally put everything shitty aside and move on into our new lives and new roles as healthy, functioning, compassionate co-parents. Wouldn’t that be crazy? We could be Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet. We could be supportive and caring and just put our own baggage away for the happiness and stability for those fantastic little people we brought into this world together.

coparenting

You can read more on my take on Compassionate Co-Parenting, here. Thanks!

Supper in a Swimsuit

You will be so proud of me!! Well, maybe you will be. You may not really know me and in that case, you may not care at all, but I assure you, if we were friends, you would be super freaking proud of me! 

I cooked dinner in my swimsuit.
Not impressed?? You should be. I don’t like to be naked. I didn’t grow up in a naked I house. I never sleep in the nude. I don’t walk around the house in my bra and underwear. It’s just not for me. Never really has been really, even in my younger, skinnier, pre-kids days. In the last couple years of our marriage my ex-husband mentioned several times that I had become fairly self-conscious. He was right. After two pregnancies, two C-sections and an abdominal surgery, I was very self-conscious. I gained weight in odd places that I had never gained weight before and I had gnarly Frankenstein scars running across my stomach. My husband used to (jokingly) call me fatty scar-belly. I took it as a joke, I was pregnant at the time, but it definitely didn’t help my body image issues. I never felt sexy after kids, instead I felt out of proportion and awkward. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I am sure you could read in a bit deeper between the lines, perhaps being a mom didn’t make me comfortable either. I didn’t feel complete or content. I felt tugged in a million directions and was eventually torn limb from limb. I became so obsessed with taking care of everyone around me that I literally forgot about ME. I still had sex, I still really enjoyed sex, but I didn’t have the confidence that I had in college. You know, BK, before kids, when you boobs are perky and tight jeans didn’t mean a muffin top, but instead they hugged your ass just right. That girl was gone.
By the end, all I was left with was a fairly self-conscious mom, a nagging wife and a shell of the woman I used to be. My confidence was shot and I felt stuck. I think without this divorce, I may never have been able to pull myself from the mire. I was stuck in quicksand. The more I screamed and kicked “Save me! Please!”, the deeper I sank.
So finally, 6 years AK (after kids), I am 30 pounds lighter and making fish sticks for my kiddos while dancing around the kitchen in my swimsuit. Today, I filled the kid’s little backyard pool and laid out on the lounger in the yard while listening to my “Divorce Source Radio” podcast. I came inside to start dinner and later, it occurred to me that I was still in my suit, just walking around like it was no big deal- because it wasn’t a big deal! My kids love me unconditionally and they don’t care that I still want to lose a couple more pounds. Honestly, they were just psyched that I agreed to fish sticks and macaroni in the same meal.
Tonight was a win/win for everyone!
MMMlegs