My life now is better than it’s ever been. Family, professional, personal. For the first time in my life that I can remember, I can honestly say I’m happy.
It scares me. I’ve spent my whole life trying to get to happy. I don’t really know how to live while happy!
The only thing I can think of that makes sense is that something will come along to ruin it. Dwelling on the end of happiness ruins the experience of being happy. So I shouldn’t dwell on it, right?
But ignoring the possibilities is just as hazardous. Then tragedy will catch me unawares. Wouldn’t it be better to keep the big picture in my mind rather than be blindsided by the next derailment that comes along?
Isn’t it fun being in my head? Luckily for me I have a way out of this dilemma. It’s a way I can stay happy without losing the thing that got me here.
The kind of happiness I have is the result of a lot of work. I’m seeing a few of the rewards from seeds I planted years ago, and in some cases decades ago. This particular place I’m in feels very much like a kind of pinnacle.
Whether it’s the top of the mountain or just a peak on a ridge I can’t say yet. Either way, one thing is clear: There are lots of obvious ways down.
This place I’m in was hard to get to, but it would be ridiculously easy to get away from. Just do something stupid like jump, or go where it’s slippery. It’s the same when you’re on a real mountain peak: the safe path is limited, and the dangerous drop offs surround you.
In other words, my happiness depends on a kind of maintenance, work, attentiveness. It’s not something over which I have no control. In fact, I have a lot of say over how happy I am and continue to be, which makes it less random and less scary.
There are things that could destroy my happiness over which I have little to no control. Some horrible disease, financial ruin, a natural disaster that takes everything away from me. If it’s out of my control, then there’s nothing to worry about.
So what I am worried about is actually my own self-control, my ability to remain the person who got me to this happy place. My fear is that happiness will eliminate those abilities, make me complacent, vulnerable to distraction. The fact is, if I look at my happiness in the right way, that won’t happen.
This “place” I’m in requires a lot of hard work to maintain. It’s not a “place” at all, but a balance point. And as long as I’m doing whatever I can to balance in the face of any obstacles, I can’t be any happier than that.
Are you happy with my conclusion? Have you gained or lost happiness? What’s your perspective?
News From a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books
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Adam Cole is a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books. Author, educator and performer, Adam chats weekly on the subject of listening, creativity and living your best life. To take a quiz on what kind of music warrior you are, please visit www.mymusicfriend.net