Being happy can be a choice.


There are two possible opening sentences:

We have never been big spenders.

Sometimes being positive is a choice.

A few years ago, before we bought our current flat, our bank called us in for some sort of financial review. I guess the money we’d saved for a deposit on a house made us suddenly important customers, because we’d been pretty solidly ignored prior to having this money.

The guy went through the usual: how much do you spend per month on clothes? Entertainment? Pubs? Going out?

As we basically said we spent no money (and it’s true, you’ve never known two women less likely to buy clothes! Or two twenty-somethings…now thirty-somethings… less likely to go out!), the look on his face clearly showed he thought we were full of shit. Like we were trying to impress him, trying to beg for a bigger mortgage if we applied with them. (We did not.)

It’s no secret I love Yankee Candles. LOVE them. It’s also no secret that I spend a lot of time oogling them, sniffing them, looking them up on ebay – and never buying them. Because even when TMD had a job, candles were a luxury.

But to spend the weekend talking about how we have to stop buying Diet Coke, or tortillas, or so many carrots because these things are too expensive? To not buy a secondhand pair of boots for my kid because we don’t have the money? To stop thinking of buying them building blocks because, well, we might need that 6.00 for a bill in the near future? Depressing shit.

So even as I can’t sleep at night, even as I have nightmares about her losing her job when I do manage to sleep, even when I wake up to diarrhea every. single. morning. because stress always goes to my stomach, I take a deep breath and believe myself when I say this might be a blessing.

I feel we have to conciously choose to make things a blessing. It won’t feel like one for months, maybe a couple of years, but we are the sort of people who will make things work. We are the sort of people who strive to be happy.

She is stronger than me. I don’t think ongoing panic has hit her, or if it has she’s not shitting herself like me (literally) or living in a hell of not sleeping. We’ve decided to nightwean (started last night, a post about that coming soon) because she has three weeks left at her job and now is the time to feel like shit from not sleeping because it just doesn’t matter.

Sometimes you have to choose to be happy. Even when you can’t unwind, even when your mind is not quiet or content.

And then sometimes it’s a sunny day. Your friend and her little child are over, and the sun is pouring down from a pure blue sky – a rarity in this country. So you go outside – no coats. No coats! – and sit on the grass which is dry for the first time in about five months.

Your children squeal and ride in the secondhand cars we were gifted, and they feel like a real gift because of the happiness. Because your son is actually staying in sight and not running for the wilds. Because vitamin D is melting into your skin from the heat of the sun, and your friend is laughing, and you decide to erect the pop-up playtent in the garden and three little children are laughing and peek-a-BOO-ing and happy.

Sometimes being happy isn’t a choice. It just happens.

Until things are more secure and sure for us, I choose to live in hope and happiness. And I am even more thankful for these brief moments when I’m not worrying and overthinking and stressing out. For the times when I am just able to sit in a tent with my children, for the cup of tea I am drinking, for the joy of just being.

That costs nothing, most of the time.

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2 Responses to “Being happy can be a choice.”

  1. Violetsouffle Says:

    Love you and your family. Have been thinking of you lots, trying to sort out a way to help
    Even while saying so sounds ridiculous. we’ve been there before-jobless; and homeless, living with my family which as you know was a deep
    Hell for me. But it worked out. It will work out for you four, too.

  2. astrid Says:

    Hang in there dear, hope things will look up soon enough for all of you. You definitely deserved it. ((hug))

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