I’m never happy.
It dawned on me just now as I drove home. It’s a glorious day, the best kind; the sun is shining, the trees look like candy floss, heavy with blossom, and the streets are filled with busy families on their way to tennis, drama clubs, or ballet. I’m one of them. Two years ago I would have rejoiced in a day like today. I would have dug out my sandals, planned a barbeque for lunch, and invited friends for cocktails. I’d have walked in the sun, breathed the air, and revelled in my life. It’s just that kind of day.
I was happy.
I don’t have a dream house, but my home is exactly what I need. I’m no longer 29, but I’m content with my age, my body, my skin. I might have liked a couple more kids, but the two I have are perfect. I wish I earned more money, but what I have seems to work for now. Life is good.
But I’m still not happy.
When I was younger, I used to fret about what might happen, or what hadn’t happened yet. Ambition was a burden, leaving me dissatisfied with my lot, never happy with the status quo. I guess that’s what keeps you going, driving to learn more, to succeed more, to achieve more. It’s human nature, but it sometimes prevents a reflection on what is good about your life. I was like that.
As I grew older, and saw more of the world, I came to realise that, whilst I would always strive for more in my work, and look forward to what the future might bring, what I have right now is good. Great, in fact, if I take the time to appreciate it. I’m aware that much of what I do is envied by others, and I don’t take that for granted.
You see, it’s comparative. There will always be someone with a bigger house, a shinier kitchen, a newer car. But glance in the other direction and you’ll see someone with less. It was the same in school. There was always a girl who got better grades, but mine were always good enough. And besides, a bigger house brings more irritating junk, and a brand new kitchen is disappointingly imperfect when the coffee rings start to appear.
So why am I no longer happy?
Because carefree no longer exists for me. Where I used to park my worries and savour the walk through a perfect day like this one, there is now a stone around my neck that I cannot shake. I carry it everywhere with me. It gets in the way of the beautiful view, spoils the cut of my summer dresses, and digs into me when I lie down in the warm grass.
I can’t take it off to sleep, I can’t ask someone else to carry it for a while; it’s part of me now, like a scar that fades, but will never be quite gone. I can learn to live with it, but it will always be ugly and uncomfortable. It demands my attention relentlessly, drawing me away from the sunshine, the candy floss, and the cocktails. I can fight to stay amongst the trees, but I know that I will never quite make it to the long grass.
Diabetes has taken a chunk of my happiness that I will never be able to fill. I will experience the most joyous occasions, the most exhilarating days, the most wonderful of friends in my life, and yet there will always be a piece of happiness missing, held within the stone, irretrievable for all its intimacy.
I wish I could be happy.