Wednesday, August 13, 2008

If it makes you happy.

Last Friday night, I had an incredible first date.

We shared a meal, we talked for hours, we played, we cuddled up to watch a movie, we talked some more (like, 8 hours more). We asked questions like Why? and Why not? and really listened to the answers, discovered our commonalities with excitement, animatedly offered differing opinions, treasured each new tidbit of information.

And then the shift ended and we went home.

Yeah, so it wasn't a date, exactly, but meeting this coworker for the first time was an enriching experience during which a theme cropped up that we apparently share: the pursuit of happiness.

You've heard me harp about happy before. It's important to me to choose happiness on a daily basis, and then spend my days seeking it in whatever mysterious corners it may lurk.

The last time I sat down to try to put it into words, I wrote about happiness par deux and while I still enjoy the certain delights that come by coupling, I find that lately, I not only embrace but crave the joy that comes to me alone.

Today as I was getting ready for work, I found a sweater I hadn't seen in a week, and do you know where it was hiding? On a hook behind the bathroom door. I hadn't closed my bathroom door in a week. I pee with the door wide open! I shower with it open! I let the steam billow out and then rub myself with a great big pink towel in front of windows that haven't any curtains. I sit on my balcony wearing only whatever lotion hasn't soaked in yet, and whatever drops of daiquiri I've sloshed and not licked up. I enjoy the cool breeze on my skin and I just feel luxurious.

I threw out all of my old underwear and bras, and even the socks, and especially the pyjamas. Now I only wear lingerie, and I have a whole bunch that I keep for my eyes only. I make myself feel special the moment I walk in the door.

I put a 63-song playlist on my mp3 player a few weeks ago, and chose myself a happy song. Now whenever The Blood Arm starts asking Do I have your attention? I answer my dancing my pants off, wherever I am, no exceptions. Being a chronic music-listener, I am almost always plugged in when I'm out of the house, so I've thus far danced on a bench along Wellington; at the grocery store in front of the hummus, where I was deciding between garlic, and roasted garlic; while waiting in line at Bridgehead for someone else's coffee; and just today, on the overpass above the 417 at Pinecrest, where I briefly worried about getting some sort of citation for public disturbance. It's the kind of song that causes me to flail my limbs about in abandonment, and after I get over my initial embarrassment, I forget about all the people and just give in to the moment and by the end of the song, my heart is beating with joy. Joy, joy, joy.

I stopped buying meat. Instead, I go down to the farmer's market where they don't look at you strangely for fondling the beautiful fruit and where I can fill my bag with veggies that I feel a connection to. Then I go home and bliss out - zen, for me, is not a tiny sandbox with an even tinier rake, or even motorcycle maintenance; zen, for me, is chopping vegetables. Bell peppers are best, of course, but anything will do. Cantaloupe lets you be creative and zucchini is so satisfying.

When I come home from a run or a workout, I strip. And I don't mean I remove my clothing, because I don't do just that. I turn on the music and literally strip, removing one piece at a time and flinging it because I can and if it's still there the next day then so be it. I am the king of my castle.

And every day I find happiness in these small things, the really absurdly overpriced napkins that make me smile, and the oddly shaped vase I bought because it looks a little like budha, and the perfect shade of purple on my toes, and the yellow shoes that I adore because they match nothing and yet everything, and even the annoying ringtone of my phone because I know it's ringing just for me.

This is what happiness is, to me. It's not a big movie moment, with swelling music and memorable lines and perfect kisses. It's really savouring everyday moments, and feeling connected to the world, and being really present, and getting really excited, and knowing that you made that moment count. Really count.

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