In the Pursuit of Happiness
Recently I’ve been having a real hard look at my life. I’ve been confronted with a couple of things – the idea that I might be alone forever, that I won’t have the family I always dreamed of, and that I am perpetually unhappy. And I don't mean depressed I just mean "unhappy" - there is a very big difference. Yes, a factor of this can be contributed to having chronic pain. It is awful to live day in, and day out, in pain. Always. Constant. It is draining. It is exhausting. And sometimes - sometimes - it gets depressing and you have to drag yourself up by your bootstraps after a good cry. I really don’t like talking about, or complaining about it – I hate it, I loathe it, I move on.
But okay. I can’t be like other people.
I’m going to have to accept that fact and march forward. Okay. I might have to face the fact that I won’t meet someone to share my life with and just move on. Okay. I’ll just have to accept that I won’t have that husband, four kids, cute house and be that awesome mother/housewife I always dreamed of being and move on. Because living in this state of wanting, hoping, dreaming and longing – I’ve realised – has made me so, so, so unhappy.
I got to a point where it hurt to see couples with children. It hurt to watch/read romance. It was such a strange sensation, because it felt like such a visceral reaction. Sometimes I felt physically ill at the sight of things I did not have –
I wished I wasn’t lonely. I wished I had a companion.
I wished – oh – how I WISHED I could have someone to hug. It is so difficult to describe the strangeness of just…wanting a hug. I tried to explain it once to someone and I got a shrug and a: “Oh, well, I guess you’ll just have to accept you’ll be alone. Forever.”
Maybe the bluntness was what I needed to hear. I didn’t want to hear it, but I guess they had grown tired of my sadness.
Because it has been making me sad, and I know it has been difficult for those around me to listen to. Perhaps - like I do with my pain - perhaps it was time to pull myself together, grit my teeth and just...move on.
I stopped. I paused. I thought - "Why am I so sad?"
Is it because I live in a state of constant dissatisfaction? So what if I am lonely. So what if I am isolated. So what if I am in pain. So what if I never achieve my dreams. I feel like I am swimming upstream, and I can't do it anymore.
Oh my gosh. I am so tired of being sad. I am so tired of wanting something so badly that it's eroding my enjoyment of life.
So, I had to let it go. Or try to.
It was eating me up inside.
I just have to let the current take me away. Somewhere.
So then. I started to think…
What then, is happiness? What is enjoyment? If I haven’t been enjoying life, how do I enjoy being single – on a budget (and in pain.) What – who – am I? If I cannot be the things I wish – who is Kylie when she stands alone.
How does one enjoy being alive, while in pain?
For the longest time I have felt – and this is weird, I know – that doing things for myself, buying things for myself, perhaps going on a trip by myself or just…being independent and “single” is selfish.
That I would be selfish.
If I perhaps stepped away from my family a little more, I would be selfish.
If I chose to do something myself, I would be selfish. I even had the thought that going to the movies by myself was selfish, and I was a terrible person for enjoying myself on my own.
I know where this idea came from, but it’s a difficult one to discuss.
But its there, and I’m having to grind it down. I keep having to assure myself that I am not a selfish person for wanting to do things for…myself…that I won’t be judged for my actions – and even if I am – it’s okay. I am me.
I’ve been trying to assess what it is that I enjoy – such as long walks along the beach, hiking, camping, marathon-walking, anime, gaming, baking, drawing, art, my family, writing, books and publishing.
How can I apply what I enjoy to a pursuit of happiness? And come to accept that finding happiness is not a selfish endeavour.
All I know is that now that a part of me has let go --
I already feel considerably happier.
Is the dream gone? No. I will always want to be a wife and a mother.
But it's no longer a weight as I struggle to swim upstream.
I let it go, to find myself.