It's Okay to Be Good

The other day someone at work asked me how I was doing and I genuinely answered, "good." Not "tired," "okay," "getting through the week," or any of the other generic responses I'd typically throw out there to disguise the fact that life was mediocre or even rough, depending on the day. 

I am good. I am doing better than well. I feel content, happy, optimistic, and ready to tackle life. Even when something not-so-great happens, like the pool guy informing me that some sort of digital salt-cell indicator board needs to be fixed, I don't feel like I'm going to lose it. 

While I wouldn't have described myself as necessarily depressed, pessimistic, or unhappy, the last... two or two and half years have been really tough, personally. And then you add a pandemic into the mix? I felt like I was constantly treading water to maintain normalcy for my son and to figure out how to somehow be okay in the place I was in at the time. It was exhausting. 

But now, the last few months, I'm still exhausted, but in a different way. My husband and I are both busy with our jobs, Sawyer is in in-person school more, my sister is around to help with childcare while I'm away, my exercise is at an all time high, I've had a lot Etsy orders, I'm seeing friends again, my eye problem is basically resolved, we have a lot of fun things on the books for May- I could go on, but, the million dollar question: who really wants to hear about the happy things?

You know the phrase "misery loves company?" I have this sneaking suspicion that a lot of people don't really want to hear about the good stuff, which I totally get if you're struggling. It's like a happy slap in the face and when you feel like crap that's the last thing you want. Good for you, being all happy while I'm sitting here feeling like a dumpster fire, thanks. Not that I walk around radiating giant happy face vibes, but I get it. Even if you love the person dearly, when you're in the middle of your own personal dumpster fire you don't necessarily want to hear about how someone else's has been extinguished. 

There's also the fact that there are so many horrible things happening in the world right now- India's COVID surge, the ongoing systemic racism in America, the drought, kids struggling academically after the pandemic... Who am I to be happy? What gives me that privilege?

So, no one likes a happy person, and if you are happy you should feel incredibly guilty about it, the end. 

But not really.

I compartmentalize in good times and in bad, so this is no different. You taper your happiness, depending on who you're around, reading the room. You enjoy your happiness, because it's a good thing. You acknowledge the bad in the world, because denial is unhealthy, and you use what you have to do better (I can donate a few bucks to causes I feel passionate about, work to reduce my carbon footprint, help my students make up for lost time, etc...). 

But, more than anything, you give thanks for the happiness. It won't be around forever, I know this as much as anyone. You can't let your guard down- lapses in unhappiness are inevitable. But until one comes up, you bask in your turn to feel good and you express gratitude for the opportunity to feel lighter. 

It really is okay to be good. 

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