I have been finding myself reading articles about happiness a lot lately. Overall - they all sum up the same basic concepts. Eat right, exercise, meditate, find your passion, get outside, practice gratitude, surround yourself with support, journal, try new things, practice forgiveness and so on.
These practices all make perfect sense, right? However even after incorporating as many of these as I possible can - it doesn't mean that I still don't fall apart. Yes- these things can definitely provide a better overall view of the world and without them, I would not have been able to survive this year. However I can't always be happy. A daily reminder of a list of things that help facilitate happiness is a good exercise for me right now but it doesn't hold permanency. Grief generates high peaks of anxiety for me and unbelievable moments of despair. However it has been the flip side perspective that I wasn't prepared for. I have also had moments of enormous joy and hysterical laughter. Does that generate feelings of guilt? At times-very very much so. How can I be happy when Candice isn't here to share this with me. However I snap out of that frame of mind because ultimately I know that Candice is with me and she guides me and wanted so much for our happiness.She wants me to be happy - this I know!
Since Candice's passing, I have had a lot of time in my head and I have thought often about life and what it means and how to maximize moments particularly as I witnessed Candice do this after her terminal diagnosis. There are no guarantees and each day is a gift. I am forever changed by Candice in my life and also her absence. I have had to take my future orientated brain and I have had to attempt to have it focus on the "present". When my brain starts to look out to far- I crash hard. What is my life without Candice? It is not a question that I ask because I was co-dependent; it is a question I ask because I didn't see a future without her in it. My brain was in a fully furnished cozy condo thinking upgrades. When I think about the future now, it feels like someone came in and robbed every possession and smashed down the walls while they were at it. I need to rebuild. This has started, but rebuilding is not easy when you weren't prepared. I have had to learn a lot of skills this year and in turn I have moved away from fears that once limited me.
So I found myself thinking about an article that I read yesterday. In my quest for the "happy factor", it mentioned something about how people who are happiest are able to say the three hardest things openly. What are those things, you ask???
Interestingly enough, in this year-I have felt freer in my ability to articulate these three concepts and they have made all the difference. It still isn't easy by any means and it can certainly leave you feeling vulnerable. When I have expressed these things, have they been fully reciprocated? Not always. When they are not, does it hurt? No-strangely enough! I ask myself why this is the case and I think the reason is - when you state any of the three things above - you open yourself up and yes you are vulnerable BUT that has a very powerful intrinsic truth and freedom. We can not walk this journey alone during our darkest hours, nor can we always walk perfectly and sometime others have a skill set that we can use.
I think about Candice and my relationship. These three "hard" things came very easy to us as a couple. It isn't always easy to extend this too far but I glad that I have been able to be more open because there are so many amazing people out there!
I'm sorry, but I love you all - now please help me raise money in Candice's memory for the BIDMC Cancer Center!