By: Revanche

On the Eve of Christmas

December 24, 2014


Merry Christmas Eve!

This might have been more appropriate for a Thanksgiving post, but a little reflection before Christmas isn’t a bad thing.

So Lauren’s Identity Capital stirred the embers of this thought I’d been having.

It hasn’t been an easy year.

Hell, this decade. We’ve had grief piled upon grief, year after year. Stress and stressors are constant, if not consistent, and things aren’t perfect by any stretch.

I still want my body back. It probably won’t ever happen but reality doesn’t stop the yearning.

My 20s, starting in my teens really, were RIDICULOUS. Seemingly only memorable for the slow dissolution of our family, while I forced my career to grow like a hothouse bloom in a desperate bid to save them, all at the expense of my health and wellbeing. There are whole chunks of years I hardly remember because all I did was work + school + work.

There was a move, there was a marriage (and a wedding), and parent loss. Travel, abroad and domestic. Two huge job changes.

Bringing home our “first born”, Doggle. Celebrating our first year with him. Having Thanksgiving with him.

Bringing home Seamus.

Then losing Doggle.

The impending Little Bean.

The family relationships continuing to be crap – it’s not as bad as it’s been but only because it’s been pretty DAMN bad before.

Figuring out how to manage money with a co-pilot. Figuring out how to blog about combined/family money.

Life revolved around money (mostly not having it). Not having it was the fire under my butt to do better. Having it was a watershed moment, and purchased a sense of stability, and security that I haven’t felt since I was too young to worry about the family. (I was around 8, coming home from the library with a stack of books as tall as I, and playing with our first dog, that I last remember not worrying about anything, much less making ends meet.)

For all those years in between, “happiness” didn’t occur to me. Who worries about that when you’re not sure how you’re going to get from one broke month to the next? Or if you’re properly braced for the next emergency?

This year, it’s sunk that we are happy. Part of that’s being low maintenance. Give me a donut and I’m happy for the day. Give PiC an hour to himself, and he’s happy for the day. Clearly, our bar is set pretty low and that’s how we want it.

But more importantly, for the first time, despite all the uncertainty surrounding pregnancy, childbirth, adding a human to the family, not knowing what the heck I’m doing next, despite all the stuff that would normally set me on the starting blocks, ready to bolt somewhere – anywhere – I think I’m also feeling contentment.

Happiness is that thing that’s thrown around all the time. It’s the thing to be pursued. It brings the highs to offset the lows. We’re even Constitutionally Entitled to pursuing it.  But happiness feels to me to be an extrinsic thing, so easily influenced by the external things like jobs, weather, family, friends. And once you get it, you almost have to start over and find it again.

Meanwhile, the mellower version, contentment, doesn’t get the good PR that happiness does and it should!

Whether you celebrate Christmas secularly or religiously, or not at all, I wish you all joy, contentment and warm fuzzies

8 Responses to “On the Eve of Christmas”

  1. I think happiness is like what the good witch tells Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. It’s always there, you just didn’t know it. I might be paraphrasing. I think it does exist within all of us, but sometimes lots and lots of layers need to be peeled back to discover that it was already there. Anyway, glad you have uncovered it, and Merry Christmas!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Merry Relaxing Lazy Christmas!My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      To some extent I think that’s true – you have to find the capacity within yourself to actually feel the happy, no external thing will do that if you haven’t found your way there. Something like being intrinsically motivated.

  2. Wishing you a continuation of contentment, with some happy here and there, and better years to come! Merry Christmas!
    Ashley Serena recently posted…“The Coventry Carol”My Profile

  3. Linda says:

    I love this “…once you get it, you almost have to start over and find it again.” It’s like our determination of what makes us happy has to be reset over and over again. I like contentment, too. I’m not knocking being happy because that does happen here and there, but simply having life going smoothly without a lot of drama is a great accomplishment.
    Linda recently posted…Living in vacationlandMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I think it’s part of that sense that you get accustomed to a certain level of happy and need more to feel fulfilled the next time. I’m with you: life without drama is great. Makes for boring reading, I’m sure 🙂

  4. Savvy says:

    Wishing you contentment in 2015 and happiness too. I’ve had similar struggles in my life. I read last year that when you grow up with an over-exaggerated sense of responsibility you have an underdeveloped sense of self. I’ve worked to develop my sense of self, but doing so hasn’t diminished my anxiety or improved my happiness level. I’m hoping for contentment in ’15 too.
    Savvy recently posted…Healthy Reads – January 2015My Profile

  5. […] goes home, though. We’ve had reality-bending and I can’t shake the feeling that my happiness is built on the shambles of my old […]

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