But Are You Happy?
I ask myself a lot of questions, every day.
Am I hydrated? Am I well-rested? Am I on schedule? Am I being productive?
This last question tended to get the better of me. “Productivity” meant, cleaning, walking the dog, partaking in hobbies that furthered my desired skills, working on this blog, exercising, or helping family. And if my standard of productivity was not being met, if I didn’t tick off every item on my to-do list, then I was disappointed in myself. No, I was absolutely disgusted by myself.
Somewhere in the background of all this productivity was the blurred sound of The Hubby asking me to spend time with him playing video games, my friends asking me to go out for dinner, and my dog begging for a pat on the head, all of them ignored as I moved from task to task in an incessant motion. There were wedding plans to make and flowers to purchase and bridesmaids dresses to order. I couldn’t be bothered by anything else.
Even when I did try walks or gatherings or parties, I was preoccupied with plans for productivity later. A trip to the botanical garden was overwrought with my need to research housing options for us.
I asked myself every day if I was being productive. Every day, I felt that I came just short of a “yes.”
And then the wedding came, and it was so much more than I ever could have asked for. The outpouring of love from my friends and family astounded me, shaking me out of my haze and bringing me back to the wild, beautiful, unpredictable present. I spent the day feeling fully alive and aware in the best way possible, suddenly seeing how little I’d done so in the past few months.
It was like I was choking, and the wedding day took the weight off my chest and allowed me to breathe. I looked around at a sea of faces that had shown up in this great act of solidarity toward me and my new husband, and realized that I’d neglected many of them in favor of the laundry, the gym, and the big fat checklist that never seemed to end.
At the end of the day, when my groom and I retreated to our honeymoon at the Lazy Bear lodge in Palmer, I sat back in the overstuffed chair by a crackling fire and closed my eyes. I heard nothing, silence engulfing the entire cabin and allowing me the briefest pause to just think without any tasks or noise.
In that moment, the question of “Am I productive?” faded away and left me with only one thing to ask.
“Am I happy?”
On that day, as we sipped coffee slowly, reading aloud to each other and playing Battleship, the answer was yes, but I knew that I needed to change some things in order to make that answer be yes the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that.
After our weekend getaway we went home, and I walked into our apartment, over-run with stuff and half-finished projects at every turn. My zen disappeared, and I was once again in a mode of uptightness and stress.
Something had to change. I attacked my apartment, purging all the useless, joyless things out of my life. And I’m lucky enough that the wedding came along to shake me out of my rut. Now as we stand on the cusp of another move, with boxes filling up our home, I find that I feel like a different person. A wife. A person with less junk. A person without a need for production.
I sit here now, lounging on my couch with the pup, playing a video game that The Husband has been asking me to play for weeks. My days since the wedding have been filled with the formerly neglected family and friends. Coffee dates, movies, arcade games, fast food at midnight. They aren’t on the task list. And every day I’ve said yes, I am happy.
Until next time, keep questioning.