This was an incredible and important summer for me. A happy summer. In the middle of July, I decided to give up drinking again. (For now? For good? We will see.) At around the same time, I began waking up each morning at 4:30 to work on my book. Truth be told, I didn't know whether I'd want to stick to either of these things - the dry living, the early morning writing - but I have and I have never felt better. Physically. Mentally. Existentially.
I have been thinking a lot about happiness. About what it is, and what it isn't. What I know is that happiness is elusive and amorphous. It isn't about things. It is about people and relationships and passion and meaning. It isn't one-size-fits-all.
I am beginning to think that happiness is very idiosyncratic. That what makes one person truly, wildly happy might make another person miserable. I am also beginning to think that happiness is in the details of our days and that it has something to do with addition and subtraction. That it involves adding things to our days and to our lives that inspire us and rev us up and subtracting things from our days and our lives that drag us down. But the thing is, liberating or confusing depending on how we choose to view it, that only we can decide what enhances existence and what dampens it. It is up to us to figure this out.
This, for me, has been a summer of addition and subtraction. I have added morning writing and these pre-dawn hours have been immensely gratifying for me. I am making progress on my book and I feel awake and inspired. It is no surprise that I feel like I am doing a better job as a mom and as a wife. It is no surprise that I am smiling more. And I have removed something that has historically dragged me down: alcohol. Taking this one thing off the table has brightened my life immeasurably. I feel healthy and alert and productive. I am sleeping well and I am more present for my sweet little babes. Do I miss wine sometimes? You bet.
Anyway, I am not sure, but I think there's something to this. To this theory of Happiness as a matter of Addition and Subtraction.
What is happiness for you? Do you think it has something to do with adding things that enhance our lives and subtracting things that drag us down? What are these things for you? Do you think this approach of addition and subtraction is easier said than done?