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Sunday, January 13, 2013


On our honeymoon, at the historic White Horse Tavern
The other day, Barb left a comment on my blog which asked me, in so many words, was I happy?

I have thought a lot about that since. You know, walking the dog, doing the endless laundry, I ask myself, Diane, are you happy?

And I'm really not sure...

Webster's defines happiness as:

1: a state of well-being and contentment; also: a pleasurable satisfaction 2: aptness

Which makes me wonder, first, just what the heck is "aptness" and what's that got to do with happiness?

But anyway...

I knew happiness. I knew it quite well. Bob and I were really very happy together before the stroke.

Hamming it up with a mermaid at Weeki Wachee
Happiness to me is doing the things you love with the one you love. Bob and I used to love to go on road trips, visiting out-of-the-way antique shops and junk shops and flea markets. Always on the hunt for a big find. We were avid collectors of anything antique, old or quirky.

We absolutely loved tacky Florida tourist traps. Like the one above.

And historic sites.

And mom and pop diners.

On the Gulf of Mexico
And The Gulf of Mexico.

And just being together. Living life. Bob always told me, "Life is an adventure!" He always told me, "Follow your dreams." I loved that about him. As I was always a bit more reserved. He let me spread my wings. Be myself. Think of myself as a writer, and not just a woman who writes as a hobby.

Yes, I do know this: once, I was very very happy. I think these pictures show it.

But am I happy now? Since the stroke? That's a good question. Especially for a gal who was up at 1:30 a.m. cleaning diarrhea off the bed sheets this morning.

Maybe a better question would be, am I unhappy?

Webster's defines unhappy as:

1: unlucky, unfortunate 2: sad, miserable 


Certainly we've been unlucky and unfortunate, but I am certainly not sad or miserable. At least, not often. Not always...

So if one is not "unhappy" does that make one "happy"?

Which brings me back to, well, what the heck is "aptness" anyway? So I have to look that up too:

Webster's defines apt/aptness as:

1: well adapted: suitable 2: having an habitual tendency 3: quick to learn.

Hmm, guess that does describe me.

So to answer the question, according to Webster's, I am quite apt, so that does make me happy, after all. I think...


J.L. Murphey said...

I think the better question are you content.

I don't mean content with your life and how it has changed, but content in your relationship with Bob.

We all have times when dealing as a constant caregiver seems to be a burden even without a disabled spouse. We all have a lot of baggage to carry on our shoulders. Would you trade a moment with Bob for a moment without him?

No one is ever perfectly happy. If they tell you that they are lying. Conversely some people are constantly unhappy...mostly because they make themselves that way.

Hasna said...

Murphy, very aptly said. I think contentmnt matters most. A thankful heart is more precious than all the golds in Fort Knox, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Though your basket of caregiving is much fuller than mine ever was, I'll answer as I felt while caregiving. Yes, I was content, apt, and in the most part, happy. But the times of frustration, some times feeling used, and the discouragement in the deterioration of my wife, I did have my unhappy times too. I think I was more unhappy for her and her situation than I being unhappy. But in the whole scheme of life, I was and am happy overall.

An after thought: Perhaps it's better to ask, "on a scale of 1-10, what is your level of happiness?"

Hugs, Dan

Diane said...

Jo, Thanks, now I have to think about contentment! But I would not trade a moment with Bob for one without him--unless that moment happened to be the one where he has serious diarrhea and then pees all over me while cleaning him up! ha!

Dan, on the scale of 1-10, I would be a -5 some moments, and 10+ others. It is so up and down. Mostly, I am just exhausted and stressed and really tired of fighting the system.

Hasna, I could use a little gold from Fort Knox! Not all, just enough to hire some help around here. Then I might be a bit more happy.

thank you all for your comments. One thing I do know, comments always make me happy!

Cheri said...

Happy Birthday Bob!

Love from your sis.

- Cheri

Jenn said...

Or maybe a Buddhist twist:
The Definition of Happiness
Buddhism provides two definitions for happiness. One is defined in terms of our relation to an object, while the other is defined in terms of our relation with the state of mind of the feeling itself.

The first defines happiness as the experiencing of something in a satisfying manner, based on believing that it is of benefit to ourselves, whether or not it actually is. Unhappiness is the experiencing of something in an unsatisfying, tormenting way. We experience something neutrally when it is in neither a satisfying nor a tormenting way.
The second defines happiness as that feeling which, when it has ended, we wish to meet with it once more. Unhappiness as that feeling which, when it arises, we wish to be parted from it. While a neutral feeling is that feeling which, when it arises or ends, we have neither of the two wishes.

Jenn said...

Did you notice in the photo of the two of you on the boat? Bob still does that same hand gesture! : )