Saturday, March 10, 2012

Last month I was honored to to be selected to write a guest post for Catherine Gryp, author of the blog Simply Solo. .  Below is my post and links to the comments and sometimes heated conversation that followed.   ENJOY!!!

Happy Tuesday! Today’s guest post is written by Halen Gori of Enduramoments, a blog about Halen’s children, endurance training and her transition to a “me” instead of being part of a “we.”

Happiness Defined

What is happiness? Can it be defined, or is it a different feeling for everyone? Happiness is elusive. Happiness is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow … does it exist so you believe, or do you believe therefore it exists? I don’t claim to know for sure, but I know what happiness is NOT.

Let me start at the beginning. That way my journey will make sense to you. This year has been the most difficult of my entire life, and I have kids, so I know difficult! New Year’s Eve, while the rest of the world celebrated, I went to bed early because I didn’t want to give 2011 the satisfaction of even getting a goodbye. I called out a “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” and awoke to a new year. Hopefully a new year + a new life = happiness!!

dog who died
Halen's beloved greyhound Doc who passed away this past August

2011 brought a dump truck load of smelly cow manure crashing down on me. I lost my job, lost my dog, lost a loved friend (luckily not to death) and lost my husband. I shouldn’t say I lost him, because I know where he is. He’s living in our old house with our two young girls. Maybe I should say I gained an ex. Either way, I am no longer married. All in the quest to find happiness. Did I find it? I’m going to make you read the whole post before enlightening you. To do otherwise would just be bad marketing!

I was married for 11 years, but with my ex for 13. I can barely remember last week, so a lot of the memories over the last 13 years are caught in cobwebs in the back of my brain closet. There are a few specific moments that became clear as my ex and I went through couples counseling. At the time, these events were easily explained away. One such memory is very vivid. The second day of our honeymoon, I sat on one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii and cried. At the time, I really and truly believed that I was homesick. Wrong answer. I was sad. Sad the wedding party was over, sad that my family all went home, sad because I was supposed to be celebrating something I didn’t feel. I was in Hawaii! Hawaii is for lovers, but I didn’t feel (or act) like a lover. I was a tourist! Room service, champagne, strawberries … NO WAY! I want to go explore!

As the years went by and babies popped out, I felt heavier and heavier. I kept trying to shove away the blanket that was weighing me down. I rationalized to myself that marriage isn’t always great; there are ups and downs and all that crap. Isn’t this what marriage was supposed to be? How the hell would I know? I’ve never been married before! This feeling would come and go, interrupted by events, kids, family. But like bad street food, it kept coming back up.
I finally decided it was time for a change. Hearts were broken (his), fingers were pointed (at me) and even the dog would get upset when we would have an emotional discussion (he hadn’t died yet). We took space for a while to let things settle before deciding on couple’s therapy. I was hopeful. I went to see Crazy A (our therapist’s nickname due to her crazy but completely wonderful, free-spirited personality) and had a goal from the get-go. I wanted to love my husband. Correction, I wanted to be IN LOVE with my wonderful, kind and amazing husband. Weeks and weeks went by; things seemed to improve and I would think, YES!! Then, NO!! Then, maybe?? Am I happy? Possibly. I hope so!

marathon run
Halen in May 2011 after she ran the Key Bank Vermont City Marathon and succeeded in qualifying for the Boston Marathon

Then things fell apart. All the hard work, talking, exercises … I felt no different. How silly! Crazy A may have been crazy, she may have been a genius, but she wasn’t capable of magic. No therapist can make you, teach you, or convince you to love someone if you just don’t. Once we both realized this and I moved out, I felt that weight gently lift. Slowly but surely, peeking out into the light and blinking from the brightness, was happiness. It showed itself just a little at first and eventually more and more. We became friends. We hung out, me and happiness, BFFs. It’s been a long journey, but happiness comes to stay with me for about two weeks at a time. It disappears every once in a while for a day or so, but always returns. Actually, once a month for about three days, happiness gets bound and gagged and thrown in the basement, but thankfully it doesn’t hold a grudge.

child playing in leaves, fall folliage
Halen's oldest daughter

How do I know it is happiness I’m feeling? Well, I don’t do drugs, so it’s not that. Things look different through happiness. The sun seems brighter; I notice and smile at little things, like the mom and her toddler in the coffee shop, or a duck sliding around on the frozen pond. Things like hearing a donkey hee-haw in real life or smelling my children’s hair make me feel warm and sunny inside. Getting out of bed and not dreading the day, having the “today just feels like a good day,” feeling seems like happiness.

Halens youngest daughter

Watching my children and really seeing them for the first time, their beauty, their innocence, their distinct personalities and the amazing way they change a little bit every day. I need to touch them constantly. These are all things that went unnoticed or unrecognized before.

Before, I survived, now, I LIVE. I dream big and go for it. I found that rebellious spirit I once had that when told “you can’t do that,” responds with, “watch me.” I am more present in my relationships with people. I care about their lives and do what I can to help. I am finally the friend I’ve always wanted to be, less judgmental and more accepting. I dove into running and a triathlon with new energy. I went back to school to pursue a different degree that would allow my constantly running, creative, full-of-big-ideas machine to get some use.

I still have flaws. I still get sad. I still miss people I don’t see anymore (and of course, the dog). I still have healing to do. If I compare where I am now with where I was two years ago, I think I now know what happiness is and I think it’s here to stay.

How has your journey taught you what true happiness feels like?

Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

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