What makes us happy? What are we passionate about? Recently, my pastor made the statement that you “can’t teach passion.” He was talking about ministry, but I’ve been thinking a lot about that statement, and how it applies to our happiness, and where we find our happiness. Is it truly from within? Without some type of outside influence, we may not find our happiness, whether it’s our jobs, our children or grandchildren, a hobby, or significant other. Can we be happy just to exist without others, books, art, pets, music, entertainment, or writing? Some people find their happiness in making others miserable, and that’s something I don’t understand. I’ve spent time being unhappy or unsure of things in my life. Haven’t we all? Yet, the last few years I have felt more confident and sure of myself, and my place in the world. I believe I am much more kind than I used to be. I would have to attribute that to the love I have for my husband, and strength we draw from each other to be better people.
I had a “friend,” a few years ago, who I will refer to as Olive. Olive was a very unhappy person, and was in an unhappy marriage. She and I worked together, and really hadn’t known each other for very long. Because Al had not yet moved here, and Olive was in a bad marriage, we had time to go to lunch or movies together, or hang out occasionally. If you know me, you know that I keep my circle of friends very small and personal. I have a lot of friends that have been my friends for most of my life, and I don’t let too many people in my “bubble.” My friends are spread about throughout the United States from all of the places I’ve lived. I prefer to keep it that way because I don’t like the cattiness and competition that a lot of women practice. I don’t like the gossipy, manipulative, controlling ways of a lot of women. I don’t trust easily because of this, so even going to lunch and movies with Olive was venturing outside of my comfort zone in the friend area. I witnessed her be rude and catty to other women, and it made me uncomfortable. She enjoyed telling people what to do in their personal and professional lives, and came across as very bossy.
After Al moved here, he and I were spending our time building our relationship. We had taken a long time to build a friendship, and then move into a committed relationship. We had both spent time being unsure of ourselves, and our places in the world, and had made the commitment to be together because we made each other happy. It was time. Olive did not like this one bit, and was very jealous. She was still in a very unhappy marriage, and was jealous of Al, and our commitment to each other. We are now in our 50’s. We don’t know how much time we will have together in this lifetime. We want to enjoy what time we have. We had both had failed marriages, and had learned from our mistakes. Our focus is, and was, on each other, and building our future together. Our passion and happiness became being together, and just being happy……just BEING. Our true friends were very happy for us, and several have said that they would love to have what we have…..not petty, or jealous. They just see and appreciate what we have and what we are building together, and are sincerely happy for us. We give each other the space and time we each need, when needed, to spend with friends or family. We respect each other. It’s very easy to be together because of the respect we have for each other.
I can honestly say that we never meddled in Olive’s personal life, even though she felt compelled to meddle in ours. We both tried to be there for her when she was struggling with the end of her marriage. As I spent more time with Al, and less time with Olive, she became very mean and treated me terribly. One day she looked at me with pity, and shook her head, saying, “Ohhhh Lauri! You’ve LOST yourself!” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I was happier than I had been in a very long time, and was trying to focus on the man I chose to be my partner in life. I was hearing this unhappy woman condescendingly tell me that I had LOST myself!?!? But then, maybe she was right…….I lost the negativity and anger I had about men and relationships. I lost the insecurities, and feelings of low self worth. But I FOUND a much happier person that I didn’t know existed anymore. I found that I was much calmer, and less anxious. I had a partner to lean on. I found a passion for life, and was happily building a life with my best friend. I found that my passion is our life together. Why was she trying to kill that? That was very near the end of my friendship with Olive. She just became too hateful and nasty. Recently, I heard that Olive is getting remarried. I hope she’s marrying her best friend. I hope she understands now that being committed to someone else, and being married to your best friend is a really beautiful thing, not something to try to kill in someone else’s life. I hope she loses herself in this relationship, and finds a kinder, nicer person when she looks in the mirror.
Whether your passion is your children, your travels, music, restoring cars, painting, animal rights, fitness, cooking, entertaining, story telling, friends, religion, reading, or your significant other…..be happy……and remember that we all deserve that. We all want it and deserve it.