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Happiness is an Inside Job & Other Things I Know for Sure


It’s my last weekend as a 43-year old and it’s been rather sedate.  Is this 44? Sedate?  On Friday, author Stephen King thanked the “twitterverse” for their good wishes to him on his birthday, adding, “On the whole, I’d rather be 71 than dead.”  43, 44….71 ages that many never reach so yes, me too, Mr. King. 

This was the first weekend that the air hinted at fall.  People hastily unpacked their flannel and sported it on Saturday even though it was not quite that cool.  Halloween decorations appeared in neighbor’s windows.  I bought some plants and picked up two that some friends were giving away, enhancing my cozy space so it’s ready for me and fall.  Bringing in new, shuffling the old into spaces that are new to them.  The space shape shifting.  Same and not.  Stillness and life are together, in communion, in this room. 

I’ve written before of my love for strange and beautiful things.  The bleached skeleton of a bat - - fragile angles.  A taxidermy raccoon.  Treasures of rocks, seashells and feathers I’ve collected from adventures on beaches and in forests.  And I do love these things – I enhance the beauty of a plant with a gently placed crystal, rock or shell in the soil. 

I also know that treasures don’t fill what’s empty inside of us.  Everyone has a space within that’s dark and hollow.  Some hollow spaces are larger or small than others.  Deeper or close to the surface.  Happiness is an inside job.  I knew this well in advance of the end twilight of my 43rd year.  I bought a sign for my home that said just that - - happiness is an inside job.  Oh sure.  I’d like it to be easier than doing the work that happiness demands of us.  I’d love to fall into another person and find happiness there.  Or find it in the cunning call of a geographical cure – chasing happiness from town to town and across state lines.  What I’ve belatedly realized this year is that you when you bear witness to others doggedly pursuing happiness in a new job, partner, home, town, state, object…you can’t call this out.  No one wants to hear this shit.  They don’t want to believe you so they won’t.  It’s that simple.  Unless of course you care about the person whom you’re watching hurtle towards, at best, more of the same and, at worse, sadness, disappointment. 

Oprah Winfrey has an entire book called, “What I Know for Sure.”  In honor of my 44th this week, I’ll be sharing 44 things I know for sure in various posts …

  1. Happiness is an inside job.

  2. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time (thank you, Maya Angelou).

  3. You cannot want something more for someone than they want it from their selves.

  4. I need to write everything down in my calendar clearly or I will assume I have zero plans and will double book myself (and Andrea.  Oops.  Sorry.).

  5. I can keep plants alive.  Not all types but some.  This is an improvement.

  6. You will be too much for some people.  Those people are not your people.  Move on.

  7. You don’t have to have everything figured out before you take the first step.  I think this means I need to work on that gd book even though I don’t know where it’s going to take me…

  8. Sometimes, moments of grace present themselves in ordinary situations.  You have to listen to be aware of them.  They are a blessing to bear witness to.

  9. I have a small, rather harmless, codependency on Andrea.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s a surprise to this strong and stubborn woman.  I used to fantasize about exes slipping from my lives in dramatic fashion – not because I wished them ill but because I wanted to get out of the relationship and a dramatic situation would permit me to do so without looking like an asshole.  But now that I shared this you know I’m an asshole anyhow.

  10. I am braver than I used to be which requires honesty, which eliminates the need for dramatic situations.

I hope you have a week of effortless happiness from the inside.


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