happiness: a right or a privilege?

I can pinpoint three times in my life where I was truly happy.  The first was in 7th grade, and other than being on successful basketball and soccer teams; having hot, popular boyfriends; and enjoying the company of a surplus of good friends- or so I thought at that time- I’m not really sure what else was so wonderful about that time in my life.  But when I look back on that time, I know I was happy.

The second time in my life was when I began my sophomore year of college, or better put, my first year at OU.  Damn was I a happy girl!  A beautiful college campus, an abundance of new friends, attention from boys, and most importantly, I had the chance to start fresh.  I think you all know the rest of that story, so I’ll leave it at that.

The third time was within the first few months of living in Columbus, which can probably be calculated to fall 2007.  Yep, Buckeye season in C-bus, so how could you not be happy living in the middle of that?  Reconnecting with friends, making new ones, loving my job, and partying on the weekends was everything I always imagined it being- and much more. 

But unfortunately, each of these times in my life came to an end.  To be honest, I always knew that the bliss of Columbus would but wasn’t sure how.  I know write about this from my apartment in Chicago, over a year and a half after leaving my beloved Ohio for The Windy City.  While there have been days and even weeks of positive moments, most occurring during my days visiting friends in back in O-H-I-O or during their visits here, I write now admitting that I am not happy.  I say it again, this just isn’t me.

Earlier today I was laying out on my rooftop deck (I know, I’m lucky) and this thought came to me: Why is my happiness always temporary?  I’m not throwing a pity party here at all, but rather I find myself wondering why this is so? And what can I do to change that?  On Friday before spinning, I gave Julie a much-needed phone call.  I miss her so much!  And it was so nice to hear that she misses me too!  But even knowing that, it doesn’t make it any easier. 

Through our I miss you’s and general catching up, Julie said what she always tells me, “I can never keep up with all of your friends.  You know so many people.” 

My response, “Yeah, but they’re all back in Pittsburgh and Ohio.  I hardly know anyone here.” 

“I cannot understand how that is so,” Julie replied.

Neither can I, Juls.  Neither can I.  As I said to her, Chicago is just a whole different ballgame and I’m a whole different person- not myself at all.  Or at least I’m not myself now…but can I change that?  These past few weeks I’ve been filling my schedule with volunteer opportunities hoping that I can find myself again AND do things that are important to me.  But those are just temporary periods of happiness for me in the big city.  Everything else has me feeling like donutholes…empty.  (I learned that term on So You Think You Can Dance.)

I have another day of Make-A-Wish volunteering at the Children’s Hospital downtown ahead of me tomorrow, and on top of that, I received my first Wish Granting assignment and my Child Life hospital volunteer is this week too.  Throw in a few spin classes, all to be followed by a weekend visit by my parents and I’d be shocked if all of these don’t heighten my mood.  However, will it only be a temporary fix once again?

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