Don and I were talking the other day and he said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you seem miserable.”
“Who are you calling miserable, what do you know?”
After a moment of shock with a dash of anger, I sat in silence for a minute. I’ve known Don going over 40 years and he doesn’t throw around statements like this carelessly.
“You still there?” he said.
“I’m thinking. I don’t want to be reactionary. Am I miserable?”
I sat there for a minute to give me time to process.
This conversation was in the context of us putting together our plan for 2022. Near the end of the call, Don said “I just want you to be happy.”
After we hung up, I texted my friend Michael: “Do I seem miserable to you?”
“Miserable is a strong word, but you definitely don’t seem as upbeat as usual.”
It was confirmed. Regardless of if I meet the dictionary definition of ‘miserable,’ it was clear that something was going on.
I started taking an inventory. Since the pandemic, I have had quite a few challenges that I’ve shared publicly. I’ll resist the urge to list them here because that’s not the point.
The point is that Don is right – I’ve allowed my circumstance and challenges strip much of my happiness away. I didn’t even realize it was happening.
Usually when I write a post like this I feel obligated to try and solve things in four easy steps. Or I find an inspirational quote about grit.
This time I want to say that I’m thankful for a good friend. A friend that had the courage to tell me an uncomfortable truth.
Funny thing about happiness. It’s not a light switch. You can’t turn it on and off at will. It’s a byproduct of living life in harmony with the things that bring you satisfaction, joy and awe.
I’m going to take an audit of how I’m spending my time and what things are adding to my life and what things are detracting. I’m going to find some simple things and start with some small changes immediately.
I’ve already started since my talk with Don. I went up to my place on the river on Sunday. It was cool and crisp. The salmon were running in the creek by my place. I had never seen that in person before, and it was so interesting to watch. The sun lit up the snowcapped mountains like jewels. I made a campfire and listened to some music that I love. It was a good day.
Even though it was difficult to hear that I seem miserable, I’m grateful to have a friend who knows me well enough to see the signs.
If things have been feeling off for you too, let this be a nudge. This has been a difficult year. This is a challenging time. Also, there are things and places and people that make you happier. Lean into that.
I want you to be happy too.