The Wild Woman Chapter

I’ve always believed that happiness is a choice. Today I realized that choice is easier to make at certain times and harder to make at others. For myself, it’s easier for me to be happy when I have a lover, friends, and lots of free time to spend in the sun with a beer. I’ve had any combination of those three things for last several years. Until now. About one month ago, I found myself lacking all three of those things, but the emptiness just hit me this last week. I found myself robotic, moody, and generally unhappy. I asked myself why and tried to think about the future, crediting my boring and unrewarding job to my spiritual lethargy. Any cheeriness faded quickly, and I was perplexed as to why I couldn’t will myself to be happy. Did this mean my belief was untrue?

Knowing your happiness factors is crucial to making the choice to be happy. As I came out of the grocery store, I looked out at the beautiful mountains and felt the sun on my legs. I expected to be overwhelmed with joy, but instead I just felt awful.

I wanted to do something in Reno, but whenever I’m in Reno I feel lost or like I’m on my way somewhere else. I hate feeling lost, in constant need of directions. I didn’t want to go to the library, I didn’t want to go to another store. I didn’t want to be home, either. “Am I refusing to be happy right now?” I asked myself. I was only focusing on what I was used to wanting to do, and the barriers between myself and those things.

So I scrapped my attitude and grabbed a piece of chocolate and decided I was going to go to Barnes & Noble and look at books because that sounds fun, damn it! If going to the library was going to piss me off, I would have to find the next best thing. I was going to spend my time the way I chose, without putting up with any bullshit. Sure, I ended up spending too much money at the bookstore (any money spent at B&N is too much money spent at B&N, in my opinion) but I felt just pleasant and simply at ease. I wasn’t focused on my loneliness or my worries. I stopped at the kid’s section and re-read Madeline and The Kissing Hand.

I’ve always had a companion. I’ve either had a lover or close friends to spend time with when I wanted to. Until now. Now I have to learn to utilize this free alone time. In celebration of this new life circumstance, I bought myself Women Who Run With the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, to train me as my own self-companion. I am calling this chapter of my life The Wild Woman Chapter.

If you’re thinking seriously about happiness, read The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin. Some of it is hokey, but some of it is gold.

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