Thirteen Reasons Why I’m Happy

This post draws inspiration from the “Thirteen Reasons Why Challenge”. It reminds me of the “things that are wonderful” posts that I used to do on Facebook (an idea that I got, in turn, from another friend back then).

As with terrymcnude in her original “13 Reasons” post, I’m not feeling particularly happy at the moment, though I’m not unhappy, either. Just blah, which is my default mode since I had to leave Ireland last September.

  1. I know what it feels like to love with all my heart. This paraphrases a quote I saw from a woman in her 90s in a photographic book of older women and their stories. (I think it was called Wise Women or something like that.) That woman stood out to me the most. Her quote was: “I still remember what it feels like to love with all my heart.” The photographer captured her in the moment she spoke those words, her eyes closed, her worn face uplifted and glowing with rapturous light. I know exactly how she felt. (That, as they say, is another story and shall be told another time.)
  2. I have good food, good drink, and a good bed. In my travels, I have gone enough times without such things that I truly appreciate them every time I snuggle down with a full stomach and a buzz, and every time I wake up in my own cozy room to the sound of rain or wind, or to sunlight or moonlight streaming in.
  3. I have direction. I have been spiritually gutted — had the spiritual shit kicked out of me so many times that I’ve been a zombie — but I’ve kept going because I have something to keep going toward. Right now it’s Ireland. And beyond Ireland . . . or within it . . . ? We shall see. I also have direction toward a way of living: one that is sustainable while granting me opportunity to offer the gifts I have to give.
  4. I am loved. Few of the connections in my life right now are easy or perfect, but they’re good and true. (Anyway, if they were too easy, they would be boring.)
  5. I have relative freedom. I have a vehicle to use and can roam at will in reasonable safety.
  6. I enjoy my own company. Some people fear time alone, but I recharge and thrive in it.
  7. I am in the presence of nature. At any moment, I can open the door or window and see and hear trees. I can breathe fresh air and hear the rustling of critters. Indoors, I can pet the dog, an old Doberman with uncut, silky ears. And I type this in the presence of my spider plant, Spider-Planty, who perches to my right, on the windowsill. (He has perked up considerably here.)
  8. My needs are met, free of charge. I’m still not quite sure how it happened, and I’m not sure it will continue until I leave for Ireland in four and a half months (in part because I might move of my own initiative), but for now, by some miracle, I pay nothing for food, lodging, or gas, in one of the most expensive areas to live in the U.S.
  9. I have plenty of work (which allows me to save up for the coming year of Irish schooling and living expenses): a full-time job, a part-time job, and paid tasks I can do during the full-time job. And it’s all relatively easy work.
  10. I have fun, creative clothes. Almost all of them came free from clothing swaps, as gifts, or from thrift stores. A few of them were personally hand-knitted by or crocheted for me, so they have that extra bit of magic.
  11. I have minimal stuff. I have gone through it all so many times, discarding and distributing all but the most vital things, that what’s left is good for travel and/or easy to store. It no longer weighs me down; in fact, it brings me joy, grants me freedom, and is thus light. The strands that tie me to this place or that place, one person or another, are stretchy and glittering, treasures in themselves: bonds of love.
  12. There is such a thing as cats.
  13. There are sequences of events like the one that led me to this blog post. As I started to write, I had the grim, serious, stretched-too-thin look I often get of late. But just now, when I looked up at the mirror that rests on the table where I type, I caught myself smiling faintly, chin resting peacefully in palm, my face reflecting a hint of the glow shared by the ninety-year-old woman who remembered what love feels like.
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