Real magic doesn’t come from achieving the perfect appearance, from being Cinderella at the ball with both glass slippers and a killer hairstyle. The real magic is in the pumpkin, in the mice, in the moonlight; not beyond ordinary life, but within it.
— from Expecting Adam, by Martha Beck
Do you think that if you get to be truly happy, you have to pay some kind of karmic price for it? I can remember thinking that if J ever came back to me (this, of course, was back when I was sure we were destined to be together) and we got married and had a family and I had everything (I thought) I always wanted, I would have to lose something else I loved, just to keep the cosmic balance sheet in check – like you only get to be so happy without it costing you something. I don’t know if that’s making any sense, but that’s what I thought.
I’ve been thinking about this lately because, over the past month or so, I’ve been the happiest for the longest period of time I can consciously remember being in a very long time. Usually, I have periods of happiness regularly punctuated by bouts of sadness, but lately I’ve just been happy, plain and simple. I mean, last Tuesday I cried a little, just because of the day, and the Braves made me sad Wednesday night, and there have been frustrations here and there, but nothing major has happened to knock me into a funk. I don’t know if it’s the weather, or that it’s baseball season (I pinpoint the beginning of this period of happiness to Opening Day), or the headway I’m making on Couch to 5k and the resulting health benefits, or that I’m making an effort to be more positive (because I am), but I just feel good practically all the time: the sky seems bluer, my cat seems sweeter, my job seems less stressful, things just seem to be working themselves out.
And that worries me. I was thinking today – while I was out on a long walk through a park near my house that I’d been to once before, but not on such a beautiful day when there were sunbathers, and people playing catch, and dogs running around, and kids playing baseball – that as happy as I feel, there’s an undercurrent of waiting for something to happen, and I couldn’t figure out what it is. Then I realized: I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. On some level, I’m expecting that, in exchange for the happiness I have right now, I’m going to have to trade something I might not want to part with. It’s kind of the way I felt after I lost my hearing – things were going well, I was really starting to be happy with myself and my life again after a long period of being miserable, and then, BAM. And I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s coming around again.
That’s silly, right? I mean, it’s probably just being nervous, because I’ve been thinking that I’m starting to feel good enough to start doing things and going to places where I’ll have to interact with strangers in order to meet new people, and maybe even find someone I like enough to ask out. I’m comfortable here now, and I know that to get to the next place I want to go in life, I have to take matters into my own hands, and I’ve been thinking about ways to do that, and so I’m probably just anxious about that. I hope that’s all it is; I like being happy, I like smiling my way through the day and looking on the bright side, and I don’t want to waste time looking over my shoulder worrying about what bad thing might be about to befall me.
I could use some reassurance, if you’ve got any.