belly laughs

picking up from where i left off, oh, more than a year ago, or sort of.

i happened upon a sweet little documentary, “happy,” the other day and was quite taken by the stories of people who live simply, love fully and are … of course, happy.

a little more than a year ago i tried to start reading the happiness project and failed miserably. i’m not a fan of self-help books, and it felt a bit preachy to me. couldn’t stomach it.

and now … now, so much has happened in my life that allows me to sit here and truly say




and it’s not fleeting and it feels real and dammit, i’m doing things for myself as well as others. and it feels good.

i’ve been, at least for the past decade or so, more of a giver. i’m always there for people. always. you need something, you tell me and i’m there. i give and give and give and don’t usually like anything in return.

usually. 😉

but really. i haven’t always been this way. ask my little younger sisters. i was a rotten, hellish, selfish, nasty excuse for a sister. i pulled knives on them and threatened to kill everything (i say everything because i mean everything, them AND their toys) in my path. i was horrible. god. i hate me. and no, i never hurt anyone. at least not physically.

and then things changed. i guess i grew up. finally. and i wanted to be there for people i loved. fully and without hesitation. and i am. still. to a fault.

it’s possible to be too available to someone. for me, i’m too available to a lot of people. not that they don’t deserve my attention. that sounds like such crap. it’s just that, well, i shouldn’t always jump so high. let’s say that.

being happy looks like a lot of things, depending on the day, i suppose. someone said it’s all about knowing your boundaries. that makes sense. but knowing where to cut people off and focus on me … that’s going to be the key to happiness. i think that’s absolutely true.

recently, for me, happiness was wandering the streets of ghent, belgium, in awe of the architecture, the energy, the smiles of the people on the streets. it was just me and a camera. i had no map. no plan. it rained and i stayed out in it. i took time to see what i could. i had one day. and it was perfect.

then a few days later, it was seeing the man i love standing at the train station in london. this time it was me going to him instead of him coming to see me. that was an amazing feeling. he was there, taller than everyone (and thus even harder to miss), and it was as if i were walking toward him and everyone was moving around us, but in a blur, as if time stood still but was in fast forward. then, we were tourists together in his city. again we braved the rain (apparently that’s what you do here) and something amazing happened. because of the rain, i didn’t take as many photos. i didn’t look through the viewfinder of a camera for days on end. and i saw things as they are meant to be seen, with both eyes wide open. i loved that.

happiness again hit me hard when i saw my boys after i came home from this trip. such varying reactions, but all hit my heart. smack. dab. hard. there was the huge grin on the little man’s face as he ran out the garage door and into my arms. middle man’s “hey, mom” was super cool, as if he hadn’t missed me a bit (maybe he hadn’t) and big man’s big smile and wave and hug as he jumped down the stairs into the garage.

that is happiness. the boys. all of them. in all their varying stages and locations and mindsets. love, love, love. happiness. bliss. whatever you want to call it. my heart feels good.

a friend just told me the other day that happiness for her is going on an adventure, and then coming home. i can agree with that.

all of this is happiness.

travel. family. friends. love. home.

and sometimes it’s the pure delight of a great belly laugh.


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