What is happiness?
I have been asking this question since I left New York a month ago. Lee and I "came home" for the summer to Minneapolis. We are here together with the occasional older child moving into and out of the apartment. I was very sad to think about leaving New York (see blog post on June 7.) Part of that was the uncertainty that we would be back.
We still don't know.
We are getting very, very good at "not knowing."
But, what has been so lovely is this: I feel happy. I feel that I can be both happy and have it be true that I miss New York City and everything that means to me - the chaos, the subways, the markets, the art, the park, the people, our friends. I can still be happy here.
First, it is heaven to be living full time with Lee again. It has been a stretch. I guess last summer we lived together, but we had a full house. Now, we seem to have this wonderfully quiet time = every morning over cappuccino, on our almost daily walk around Lake Harriet, across the room during the day while he is reading about Heremeneutics for his dissertation and I am puzzling furniture together on a floor plan for someone.
It makes me happy to see him so engaged, not battered by the tempestuous seas at the Rudolf Steiner School. And I am happy to be with my clients and colleagues again. Dinner at Lucia's at least one night a week is a happy-making thing. (www.lucias.com - as good a food as any I had in New York.)
Then there are our friends: Mark and Caroline, Joe and Carrie, Bruce and Peggy, Lucy, Brenda, Mary, Chris and Annie, Jean and Mark, my brother, Kelly, and his partner, Tom. This is all happy-making.
Cooking with Isabelle is happy-making.
The summery weather is very happy-making. Sunny is happy-making.
So, whatever it is, I realize that I can be happy in spite of loss, of parting with things that I hold dear. I can (shockingly!) be in the moment. And that is what we have done - mostly without thinking about it. We are so positively engaged in our lives that we simply ARE happiness. This reminds me of the book "Flow" by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi."Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person in an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity."
We are in the flow, in the groove. I'm not spending money on clothes because J Crew on Madison is not around the corner. (Okay, of course, I don't have my daily croissant from Eli's either!) But, the simple things matter - friends, work, love, family. Oh, and we really love our apartment here. We feel like living in 1200 sf is living in a mansion. :-)
Live is good.