Sunday, August 2, 2015

Happy Life

As most of you know, I'm a pretty positive person. I always have been. Usually my gin bottles are half full. But sometimes even I have my moments, shocking I know but very true. I have really high expectations of myself, and am my own worst critic.

Fortunately for me I have some very close friends who kick me in the ass when I need it the most, they are my go to gals when I've lost my perspective and need a healthy does of objectivity. I can always count on them to tell me straight up when I'm being too hard on myself or being a jackass. All it takes is one "Seriously Monica" or "Fuck off Bobbitt" and  I know it's time for me to put my big girl panties on and deal with whatever issue is stressing me. And by the way, I'm not kidding, she literally does say that (I love that woman). How lucky am I to have friends who tell me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear. In fact, I can actually hear them both right now saying, "luck has nothing to do with it" (I may have had this conversation with them both before). We all need to have someone who we can count on to be totally honest with us, no matter how brutally painful that truth might be.

And then there are the others: people who hardly know me or don't know me at all that feel because I am a widow I need them to tell me what I should or shouldn't do or how I should be feeling. It is one of my biggest pet peeves. I have had people say some ridiculous things to me in the last fourteen months (I can't make this shit up). One of my personal favourites was when one of the kids' former teachers told me that she was glad I had sold my house and was moving to Nova Scotia, "You won't marry another military man there because obviously you know the odds with military men aren't good." Obviously. I guess that means I shouldn't marry a man who owns a car either because I think the odds are probably higher he'd die in a car crash then a LAV rollover, just sayin. Oh and by the way, we do have navy and air force bases in Nova Scotia but maybe they don't count?

 I have to say the latest one left me speechless, hard to believe I know but it does happen occasionally. A few weeks ago I was sick with a nasty throat virus and stopped at the drug store to restock on pain meds when I ran into an old acquaintance from university. She asked me how my summer was going and I told her the girls and I were having a great summer and we'd just had an awesome visit with our Norwegian friends. Her response to this was what left me speechless. "You must feel so guilty for being so happy with Dan being dead and all." (I'm so glad she clarified that last bit for me, you know just in case I'd forgotten).

 I'm standing in the middle of Shoppers Drug Mart (ironically on a day when I'm actually not even feeling particularly happy): my throat feels like I've swallowed a thousand shards of glass, I've haven't had solid food in almost a week and even worse have only managed to swallow two and a half cups of coffee in the same time frame, and this chick, whom I barely know is telling me I MUST feel guilty for having a good life. Seriously, are you freaking kidding me?

 Speechless and trying desperately not to cry, I did manage to answer. "Actually no, I don't feel guilty at all. In fact, I haven't felt guilty once all year." Usually I just let this shit roll off, like water off a duck's back, but not this time. I'm totally blaming it on caffeine withdrawal and hunger. I'm annoyed with myself (of course) for letting it bother me but you know what, it did bother me.

 I've thought about it a lot. In hindsight I really wish I'd told her not to be a jackass (because everyone needs someone to tell them when they are being a jackass) and to not assume she knows how someone feels unless she's walked in their shoes. What got me was the assumption that I had to feel guilty for being happy. Because I'm a widow and widowhood is obviously a life sentence to guilt and unhappiness. Evidently I missed the memo on that one.

 I've decided it's a good thing I wasn't widowed 100 years ago. If people think I'm outrageous now just imagine what they would have thought of me back then. They'd have had me locked up in an institution somewhere... Mrs. Hennessy's Home for Happy Widows. She's happy, how scandalous. Lock her up here, quickly. Dear Lord.

 Just because I'm happy doesn't mean I'm not sad. Happiness and sadness are in fact not mutually exclusive, you can be both at the same time. I know because I feel them both all of the time. I will always be sad Dan is gone but it doesn't mean I can't have a good, and yes, very happy life. Seriously he really would be the first one to kick my ass up one side of the street and down the other if I were any other way. If you knew him, you know this to be true. So thanks gals (and the jackass at Shoppers Drug Mart) for reminding me of that.

 Every day might not be good (especially when you can't swallow your coffee) but there is always something good in every day. My gin cupboard is, in fact, never empty. Amen to that.

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~Abraham Lincoln

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