Saturday, January 7, 2012

I'm so happy...except when I'm not

Can a person be happy and uhappy at the same time? Especially when that person is happily married to the kindest, most generous man on earth and has two lovely and talented daughters, both married to men who cherish them, and twin grandwons who make her beam with love? Even when she lives in a spacious townhome in an very nice suburb? Even when she's lucky enough to have a job that pays well, offers camaraderie, and gives her an opportunity to be creative?

To be accurate, I have my moments. Moments of wondering what it's all about, what I'm going to be when I grow up, what I need to do to feel as if I'm making some mark on the world. Moments of worry when something comes up that disturbs a family member or close friend. Moments of thinking about aging and wondering what ailment that usually affects those over 65 will finally get me.

And then the moments pass. They pass because I get up to get ready for a lively lunch with good friends or a party to celebrate something or other or even a trip to the grocery store. Or I just get up and do something. You'd think by now I would have learned that lesson: Don't just lie there brooding. Do something!

Sundays are the worstthat is, the Sundays with no obligations, no plans. After enjoying "Sunday Morning" on CBS and reading the multi-section Chicago Tribune, I get into a slump. I tell myself I'm sleepy or achy, and I resort to napping or playing Boggle on the iPad.

To add credence to the idea that this is a grown-up version of the teenage whine, "I'm bored. There's nothing to do," here's what happened one Sunday when I was still in my pajamas, snacking for the third time that day, at 2:30 in the afternoon. The phone rang. It was my daughter.

"Hi, Mom. What are you doing?" (Did I really have to tell her?)

"Nothing, really. Why?"

"Wanna meet me in Old Orchard [a north suburban shopping mall]?"

The transformation was instant. I promised to meet her in 45 minutes, then accomplished the necessary grooming in record time. I had energy. I was smiling. I was happy!

We had a wonderful afternoon, shopping and eating and talking. And I was basking in the knowledge that my daughter initiated this outing. She wanted to spend time with me.

It doesn't take much to dispel the blues when life is otherwise going well. The solution, therefore, should be easy:
  1. Make plans (Sunday brunches, maybe?)
  2. Get a hobby (one that I'll stick with beyond buying all the equipment and gear)
  3. Volunteer (I know, I know...someday I'll do that)
  4. Exercise! (Seems to be the cure for almost everything)
And if you're a daughter or son reading this, call your mother. Ask her to go shopping. It's a miracle cure.


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