Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to live a life focused on happiness. That is, focusing on putting energy into the positive things in life and cutting out the negative. To be conscious of when I slip into the negative and make myself stop and change tracks.
Facebook is filled with positive and inspirational quotes in this vein. That if you just focus on love, compassion, letting go and forgiveness then you will live in grace, serenity and peace. Maybe it’s the soft and idyllic images that go with the quotes that make it sound so easy but it seems to me that this advice is wise but way harder than it sounds. Or looks.
Last year at this time I felt like I had perfect, effortless happiness. The kind of happiness that makes every day exciting. And now I am one year away from that time and so much as changed.
Don’t get me wrong; I do have happiness in my life today but what i am learning is that I have to fight for it. Every single day. To actively keep moving forward and not fall back into the same old rut.
To be ruthless about staying in reality, to shine a harsh strong light in order to see clearly while still treating myself with the gentleness needed to support my journey.
To daily refocus and recommit myself to a path whereby I believe in myself. To find and exercise the strength to say no to the many diversions of false comfort.
Maybe this is the next stage of growing up (can you still be growing up at 43?). It certainly feels like a next stage of emotional and spiritual growth. And so, I find myself being fierce about my happiness, questing hard in the direction of what is positive in my life, fueling what feeds my passion and being unapologetic about cutting the things that dampen my fire out of my life. That last part is undiscovered country for me. A foreign landscape.
Somedays, I’m tired. I fall short of my goal. I stumble and fall and hurt. Hurt myself and those close to me. But, I am so much more grateful for the hard-won happiness and for the many blessings in my life than I have ever been before. For the time with loved ones, for honest and authentic connections, for the opportunities in my life to be of service in the world.
For being carried within, and buoyed up by, the flow of love in my life. For the peace of the still, quiet place within my soul.
It’s hard, this happiness, but it’s so worth being fierce about.
At 52 I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. So yes, you can still be growing up at 43.