“There’s an epidemic of happiness that’s overwhelming our environment here . . . That is the goal for many people, to be happy. And it’s a very petty and trite goal and it saddens me very much to see my friends and people I know focus on that in life instead of other things that I think have value.”
As someone who goes regularly to therapy to deal with her chronic issues of depression, I’ve spent a good deal of money trying to be happy. I’m at a place right now where I feel like I’m doing really well. I’m living in an exciting foreign city. I have a great network of friends. I really like writing this blog and I also just started working on a webzine with Heleen which I’m passionate about. I haven’t figured everything out yet, but bottom line is I’m doing fine. And I wonder: Am I happy?
If I look at this past week, there were plenty of moments when I felt great. I met with my therapist and she thinks I’m doing really well. This morning I started a part-time job so I’ll be making some money before I go home and deal with reality. I passed the first round of the foreign service exam, which was really difficult and I studied hard for. Not that it was a question, but I passed my master’s degree. So it’s been a good week overall. At the same time, I also spent at least an hour on Friday crying in the bathtub over this same stupid terrible guy friend who broke my heart. (Gloria Steinem weeps for me.) So you know: Happy?
In one of my favorite movies, Waitress, there’s a scene where Keri Russell asks her boss at work whether he’s happy:
Jenna: Cal, are you happy? I mean, when you call yourself a happy man, do you really mean it?
Cal: You ask a serious question, I’ll give you a serious answer: Happy enough. I don’t expect much. I don’t get much, I don’t give much. I generally enjoy whatever comes along. That’s my answer for you, summed up for your feminine consideration. I’m happy enough.
I think that’s the secret to it. I don’t think I’m ever going to reach a point where I’m 100% not depressed, or 100% healthy, and I don’t honestly believe that anyone ever really is, whether they admit or not. But I think I can be healthy enough. I think I’m at a point right now where I’m managing day-to-day and I can have a setback like Friday and not let it stop me from living my life. And that to me is good. And that to me is progress. And that to me is enough.