Sunday, March 17, 2019

What Happiness Looks Like

I've been a Facebook user since 2009 and enjoy the "memories" feature because it reminds me of so many great experiences and adventures over the past ten years.  
Unfortunately, the memories feature also reminds me of some very dark and painful times in my life. 
A friend was sad for me when I shared with her that I often look at the dates of my Facebook memories as B.D. and A.D. (before, during and after marriage).
I now read some of my posts between 2009 and 2012 and see how happy I was. 

Then I look at the date and year. My younger son was still in high school, I took my dream trip to Paris, my little man was born, and so many other special memories.
I shared my joys, pains, frustrations and successes.  

Sometimes it feels as if I don't even know the woman who wrote those posts.
That woman was working full time at a job that she enjoyed...most days.
She had financial stability and she looked forward to Friday nights with bubble baths, Netflix, wine and ice cream.  She traveled often and dated consistently.
Her love life was pretty much a dramedy, but entertaining nonetheless and provided great content for this blog. 

Ten years later, that woman... me... looks back longingly, wanting to go back to what I now see as simpler and happier times.
If I could go back in time and say anything to the younger me, it would be to not focus so much on "finding," "wanting," or "needing" a man. 

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the company of a man and I certainly enjoy the pleasures of a man, but the "me" now, realizes that I don't need a man to make me happy or to complete my life. 

Every now and then I get a yearning for someone to call and share exciting news or sit outdoors at a trendy wine bar, sampling Malbec flights. I watch Beth and Randall Pearson on my favorite Tuesday night drama and think they are relationship goals, but with a relationship comes work, and it takes the work of two people willing to fight for each other, not WITH each other. 

My Facebook memories showed me a pattern. For a good three years, I wrote posts asking God for strength. I wrote scriptures about hurt, pain, betrayal and disappointment. I shared quotes about marriage, partnership, not giving up and peace. Those Facebook memories showed me that on the same date, one year later, I was still battling the same demons. Nothing had changed, except the calendar.
I had gone into a place of darkness.
A place of sadness.

A place of pain. 
When I look back at posts prior to 2013, the things I thought were big problems, were really small. 
Yeah, I had a teenager driving me crazy, there were bills that needed to be paid, things around the house in need of repair and the other side of my bed was empty, but it wasn't that bad!

A friend recently added me to a Facebook group for single women. I checked it out and the first post I saw was a video instructing women on what to do while waiting for Mr. Right.
"Nah, I'm good," I said to myself and opted out of the group.
I'm not waiting, looking for, hoping or dreaming of Mr. Right.
I can't tell women what they should or shouldn't do. I can't stand on the rooftops and scream, "stop worrying about when you're going to get a man!" 

Who's gonna listen?
I remember years ago a Facebook acquaintance attacked me online. He berated me for being so singularly focused on having a man. I cussed him out and told him he "didn't know me," and unfriended him, but he was on the outside looking in and he was right. 

In 2017, I chose happiness and took steps towards it.
Things haven't been perfect and I have a LOT on my plate, but each morning when I wake up and Facebook has delivered me a new set of memories, I read them and I'm reminded that even though times are tough right now, I'm not hurting anymore. 

An old friend, the Corporate Thug, reached out to me shortly after I moved into my apartment.  I shared with him all that had gone on in my life since we last saw one another and that I had chosen happiness over pain.
"Is this what happiness looks like?" he asked. 

I sat there on the side of the pool, with my feet in the water, sipping on a glass of Cabernet as I spoke with him. I looked around at my surroundings, the freedom, the peace, and said, "Yes."
Yes, this is what happiness looks like. 

Mixed Signals

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