If I were to define what happiness is for me it might not be at all what happiness is for you. So, first of all, beyond having enough quality food, shelter and clothing, happiness is not at all the same thing for everyone and even for those same people happiness and what happiness is will change in many ways over the years from cradle to the grave.
So, in a way happiness is always a voyage of discovery. Often my wife and I will go to the movies and watch romantic comedies or adventure or science fiction movies. But often, when the romantic comedy is just too "And they lived happily ever ever" I often think about how basically unrealistic that way of thinking is. "And the lived happily ever after in reality takes about 10 times the emotional work of running a good sized business if "happiness" is to be preserved in a relationship. It doesn't just happen all by itself.
One does not set out to be married 3 times in ones life. Once is enough. More is always emotionally overwhelming especially if children are involved in the marriage. And each marriage for me, was something I was very serious about in that I was planning to do everything possible to make that relationship work. However, after 4 years together and 3 married my first marriage ended and I got custody of my 3 year old son when I was 29 years old. Two years later I married a lady with 2 kids from her previous marriage that had ended the same year as my marriage and we were the same age, 32, at that time. So, after the 7 best years of my life so far in that marriage, we proceeded into the 7 worst years of my life and that wasn't possible according to my way of thinking so this really confused me. Those last 7 years were the loneliest in my life. (Yes. You can be married and be incredibly lonely and unhappy, even more so than living alone). So, my second marriage ended when I was 46 and I really thought this was way too old to survive a divorce with kids (at least for me). Luckily, in the process of divorce I met someone who was the complete opposite of me, (as my first two marriages were with people exactly like me). So, the problem with my first two marriages is that there were the same skill gaps in our marriage. Whereas with my 3rd wife because she is independent and the complete opposite of me, we have all the bases covered. I would never have thought that in my 20s but then what does anyone know in their 20s?
So, even though I often miss being with very adventurous women, (my third wife was adventurous until our daughter was born) and then became very protective (one chick in the nest) even though she adopted (emotionally) all my previous children and stepchildren as her own which has been really great both for them and her.
So, what is happiness? Basically, from an adult point of view I'm there, at least for me. Life is never completely perfect, as we all know. But this is sure pretty good as things go.
The most unhappy events of my life are now mostly behind me. The most unhappy event so far is not being able to raise my older biological daughter from age 5 to adulthood. Though we spent 9 weeks a year together from ages 7 to 14 and skied together one or more times a year since then, and went to Paris with my wife and younger daughter and to Nice for 10 days 1 1/2 years ago, I still missed being able to be with my daughter and to raise her fully to adulthood and not to just be a weekend and vacation Dad which is an entirely different thing. Now she is 22 and lives with her boyfriend in Oregon and just returned from Russia on a Dolmen tour with her mother through Moscow, St. Petersburg and the North East Coast of the Black Sea where there are many historic Dolmens.
So, not being able to fully raise my daughter so far is the worst thing that has happened to me in my life. Parents dying of old age is expected. Not being able to raise your own children is not.
So, am I happy? All my children seem relatively happy except my 15 year old daughter. And what 15 year old is actually happy that you know. At 15 I was just coming out of the worst time of my life 12 to 14 and trying to survive childhood epilepsy without dying. But 15 for me meant there were no more seizures and that I could then live a normal life from then on. But don't underestimate the trauma of almost dying more than once in your life. It changes a person like a mini PTSD experience. However, if you are a survivor like me you will be okay too, like I am. So if you can be as happy as you can. We live in a really amazing world. Get out and explore all it has to offer.
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