Friday, September 14, 2007

Happiness is boring. And that's just fine!

I think one of the biggest barriers to happiness is that it feels boring. Heck, it is boring, in literature and life. Story happens when conflict occurs, struggle ensues, maybe a lesson or two is learned, etc. But happiness and contentment are states that are hard to endure if you are used to getting in your own way, shooting yourself in the foot, or just plain fucking up. If you are used to crisis. If you like the adrenaline rush that comes with an emergency, even if you have to create it yourself.

I am in the position these days of being happy, generally and most of the time. I have an enviable life. I don't make the most money I've ever made and I don't live in the exciting environment of NYC anymore and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to end up famous for maybe anything. But I have a boyfriend whom I love and I live in my own house in a small city in New Jersey and I have a job with enough money coming in and I am sober many years now. So things are pretty nice. And they are boring.

And - contrary to what I always used to think - that's okay. I think the trick is to figure out that you still have to invest energy into your life even if you are already happy. I never knew that before. I didn't know that contentment means, I like where I am at, but I have endeavors that mean something to me that require me to do work on them - e.g., hobbies like crafts or sports or whatever. Because if I do not, I will find things in my pleasant happy life to pick at. To notice and think too much about. Does the frequency my bf and I have sex mean something? Is it too much or too little? Or, does the fact that I am an introvert, which means essentially I require solitude to regroup, whereas my bf is an extrovert, so he regroups better around people, does that mean we are incompatible? Blah blah blah. I'm not saying these aren't intrinsically valid questions per se; but I don't need to be wasting my energy thinking about them. And, in order to keep from spending my energy on those things, I have to "keep the focus on myself," which in practical terms means finding things I want to do and put energy into them.

I love knitting and I am getting excited about the sculptural possibilities of knitted objects. I made those things that I submitted to (and STILL I haven't heard back from them! so I still can't talk about them specifically) that were very sculptural. I've also made a number of items by following other people's patterns lately that are equally so, and it's an interesting learning opportunity to see how another designer accomplishes a bulge or a pinch shape after I've tried to make those things happen. I've also been working on some multimedia type projects - a bag made of knitted pieces that is mostly a sewing project; a pillow that contains some knitted components; etc. I put up a pair of "fake UGG" baby booties for sale on etsy, as a first attempt to sell something I made, and I have plans for more of those, as well as to sell patterns for other knitted items. As I told my bf last night, I'm trying to increase my productivity in this area.

I get home at about 6-6:30pm these days after work. I used to work until that time, then get home whenever I could after that, factoring in the PATH train and then the drive back from JC, or whatever other method of commute. Adam doesn't get home until later than even that; I think he came home earlier when we commuted together, but now he is easily distracted by people who suggest a "quick" drink together after work, or stays later at work than I was happy to do; so he doesn't get home until 9 or even 10 at night, quite frequently. So this leaves me a 3-4 hour window of time in which to sit at my computer and waste time waiting for him to get home, or to put to use on my various projects that I have in progress. I'm trying to use the time more wisely, rather than feeling like I am just waiting for my bf to come home for life to begin.

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