My Happy Place
When I was in therapy years ago, the therapist wanted me to envision my “Happy Place” in my mind. A place where I felt content and safe. A place that I could go to when feeling bad, stressed, scared or injured. And even though I feel I have a creative mind… this was a very difficult task for me. I could visualize a beach scene… a forest setting with a river running through it… a field of wild flowers gently swaying in the breeze… Lots of images of serene scenery where contentedness could be visually felt. But I could not find the “happy”… the “content” in the context of my own experiences so found it difficult to create a “Happy Place” that felt real enough, reachable enough, for me to feel safe there.
I recently glossed over my 45th birthday. I say “glossed over” because I did not focus on it, did not celebrate it, but rather just “let it happen”. And then moved on. I believe Age is just a number. But I also notice at this age that I am doing a lot more thinking and analyzing of my future, my happiness, my “level of contentment”. And I am doing more reading about relationships, marriages, how to keep it together, how to create that contented happiness that everyone craves. And not just in relationships. I am searching for that feeling of content in my work, in my home, in all aspects of my life… sort of a balance of contentedness.
I like to read posts by established authors. I also like the quirky, off-center personality of some writers. This guy, James Altucher, is one of those writers. I found him a few months ago and I have read a LOT of his stuff since then. Some of it I like, some of it I don’t. I wanted to share one of his writings that I really, Really like.
In this blog post, he talks about his thoughts on the purpose of marriage. My favorite part of the blog is this:
“Marriage is a gift you give to your spouse. It’s a gift that says, ‘I have fully enjoyed our past together, I fully enjoy our present together, and now I want to devote the rest of my future to helping you achieve your goals, to being with you, to you being with me, and to taking care of you (or vice versa) when we are old and sick, as we will almost assuredly will be.”
If everyone could think that way and ACT that way… every day… just imagine how much nicer people would be too each other, how much more kind our interactions would be, how many more saved marriages! Instead we get so caught up in the rush and flow of everyday life and responsibilities that we end up not “seeing” our partner/spouse anymore and we forget how special that person really is. We forget to admire and appreciate their “gift” to us.
I admit, in my one and only marriage, I was not a good wife. I was so busy trying to be ME, that I forgot to look at HIM. I forgot how to be the person he fell in love with, the person that loved him enough to get married in the first place. And eventually I ended up losing the person that I had fallen in love with and in the process… lost myself.
I see so many relationships in which two people fold into each other so deeply, they have no room in which to expand. The pressing comforts of love lure them into a cozy little underworld where two formerly ambitious people simply stop trying. They stop trying at work. Stop trying with their bodies. Stop trying in the bedroom. Stop trying with their friends.
In the past 5 years, I have come to know ME again. I understand my flaws and my weaknesses and I can admire my strengths and feel proud of my accomplishments. I have learned what I can and cannot accept in a relationship and what I really want to have in my life to be happy.
While I crave the feelings of being comfortable with another human being, of letting my guard down and attaining intimacy — I don’t want that to morph into complacency. When I say I crave being “content” I do not mean “settled”. Why would I ever want to settle for anything?
To me, love isn’t about settling; it’s about adventure. It’s about finding that person who has the guts and ambition to travel the world side by side with me. Just because you fall in love doesn’t mean the thrill and the endless wonder of the world has to stop. I don’t want every day to be exactly the same. I don’t want to have the same conversations over the same meal every single night for the rest of my life.
I want a blazing passion that sparks a fire within me. I want to be with someone who makes my heart skip a beat and whose touch has the ability to light up my entire body and soul.
If (and hopefully WHEN) I get to that point in life where I am in a committed partnership that is moving towards a future together… I hope I can remember that life with them is a GIFT. And I hope that he, in return, will appreciate that gift and give it back just as much.
Then I will have reached what we all strive for in life. My Happy Place.