I’m sitting in a darkened theater, and Act 2 is about to begin. This is one of my favorite plays, I haven’t seen it in years, and it is even better than I remembered. By the end of the play, I will almost be in tears. And a wave of gratitude washes over me, that this is my life, that I get to see live theater with friends who also appreciate it, that I’m sitting here now, and I am happy.
I’ve been dancing in a new venue for the last hour, and now I’m sitting cross-legged on the hard wooden floor, listening to the event organizer speak. He is talking about the importance of the community and the importance of being cognizant of boundaries while dancing, particularly with newcomers to the community (that would be me). I feel such a sense of rightness, that here I am doing this new thing I love, and it fosters a community that first of all, talks about boundaries at all, and that does so in such a respectful and thoughtful way. And I am happy.
I’m writing a new novel, and I’m having the best time. I sit down with my laptop, and I watch as I slowly add words and the story takes shape. I have no idea how good it is, or even if it’s any good at all, but one of the joys of the rough draft is that I kind of don’t have to care. I have to write my words. I have to meet my goals. I can worry about “good enough” at a later date. But right now I get to live in London again, and I get to become acquainted with gargoyles and ghosts and girls who won’t grow up, and I am so very happy.
A few months ago, here is what I told myself. Nothing in my life was blowing up. I’d already mostly decided not to move. I’d cut out as much drama as I could, and finally there was some space. The book was going fine. Nala was fine. I was fine. And I said to myself, “Now. Now is your chance to make your life as amazing as possible and see what happens. See if you can do it. See what that looks like. Now. This is your time. Try really hard not to take on anybody else’s stuff, take care of yourself, do what you need to do, and go shine as brightly as you want.”
My theme songs for this period, as anyone who follows me on Twitter and many more who don’t already know, are Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and the Presidents of the United States of America’s “Peaches.” Yeah, I’m not entirely sure either, but they’ve set the tone nicely. So, whatever works.
And what does this now time of mine look like? Not so unexpected perhaps. Lots of writing and more writing, singing and piano playing, walks with Nala, dancing dancing dancing, theater and concert going, reading, and Star Trek, along with the occasional game. Baking and good food and quality time with friends. My ankle is doing well enough that I might be able to throw in some longer walks or hikes, which is pretty exciting. I’ve been meeting a lot of new people, not because I’m trying all that hard to do so, but because they seem to keep appearing, and many of them have been a privilege to meet.
It’s not all simple and easy and perfect; this is real life, after all. I’ve also been sick and tired and very sore because dancing, and I’ve had setbacks and disappointments, and I’ve made mistakes. Sometimes the world can be an ugly place, and sometimes it can be a complicated place.
But I keep having this very particular type of happiness sneak up on me. It doesn’t seem to matter what I’m doing at the time, but all of a sudden I’ll stop and think, “Oh. This is my life.” And I’ll feel this mixture of gratitude and relief and happiness, that I get to have this chance, that I get to do this work, that I get to know these people. That I get this time.
My friend told me my post last week about friendship was mushy, which yeah, I knew that, and I think this one probably is too. I know, but I kind of can’t help it. All I can say is it’s a very genuine mushiness. I doubt that makes it much more palatable, but it’s all I’ve got for you. Happiness is kind of mushy. I am a huge musical theater geek, which I’m pretty sure is good evidence all by itself that I can be kind of mushy. And apparently I’m willing to spread on the mush.
I also think sometimes it’s easy to only write about the problems, the dark places, the sturm and drang, and all that. And these are all important things to talk about. I’m going to keep talking about them.
But sometimes I want to let you know that the happiness, it is here too.