Are You Happy?

We saw a play last weekend called Maple and Vine. The driving force of the play was the question are you happy? One couple in the play goes through absurd machinations in an attempt to bring happiness into their lives. Sheri and I left really thinking about the question.

It seems when most people in the United States are asked this question their answer is no. Now I have a biological disadvantage in that I can go through some deep and nasty bouts of depression. They don’t happen as often as they did when I was younger but it still pops in like the uninvited guest that it is.

If you take genetics out of it though I am basically happy. I say this while in the midst of one of my worst years of teaching ever. I have to be fair though, it isn’t the teaching. It is when I have to assume the job title of principal that I find my job satisfaction going way down. Even with that, I love my job. I am around kids all day. Kids who like me and are full of energy. Kids with problems and issues which break my heart. Kids who I know I make a difference for. Everyday some student on campus runs up to me and gives me a hug. You really can’t beat that.

My home life is great. I married my best friend. I have another best friend (my brother) living with us and helping around the house (making our after work lives a little easier). I have never had more great geeky friends in my entire life. I am finally back in shape and not embarrassed about my weight. Right now, in this moment, things are great.

I am glad they are. Life is too short to be filling it with anything less than awesome. My sister died before I was seventeen. My childhood friend Kurt died before I was 22. Everywhere I look in my life has been filled with the tragic endings of a life too short. This very weekend on the way back from our play in San Francisco Sheri and I experienced the single most frightening thing we have ever been involved with.

We were driving east on Highway 80 (a very busy freeway). Just before the University Avenue exit, some bozo tried to do something stupid and got clipped by a motor home. It turned his car into a helicopter. It spun in circles across four lanes of freeway and slammed into the guard rail. It was facing the wrong way on the freeway and it was in the fast lane. The same lane we were in. I think I had about 10 seconds to react (if that much, it happened really quick).

We were moments from a head-on collision but my instincts were good and I had already started to steer into the crash. I knew if I did it right he would fly right by us. Sadly, another car reacted wrong and turned in towards the accident. I felt his car touch ours. I knew I couldn’t go any farther without wiping out the guy on the right. I cleared the head on collision with maybe 6 inches to spare. We took minor damage on the right side of our car.

We pulled over on the side of the road. Took a deep breath and were very thankful to be alive and unharmed. I had already been thinking about the happy question before this incredible near miss. I can honestly tell you I had never been happier standing on the side of the road looking at my wife. Knowing we had dodged a big one. I am happy (although not all the time). I hope all my friends and family are too. If there is anything I can do to spread a little happiness into your life, let me know. It would be my pleasure to help out.

About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

2 Responses to “Are You Happy?”

  1. Great post. Interesting thoughts about happiness in life. On it’s face my life looks very happy, but, I rarely feel satisfied. I think part of that comes from not being true to yourself. Especially if that means confronting fears or making the big life changes you’re afraid to make. I’m working on both and I can say it makes a difference in your outlook.

  2. You know, I’d really been struggling with this for a long time and I wasn’t. My mom’s passing, my remaining family’s a mess, I was so stressed with work and subtly not totally sure this was the right fit anymore, things were just too much at odds with each other for me to reconcile anything.

    We had a vacation for the first time in a year and that’s given me a chance to breathe and retrench, I suppose. Listening to LeAnn Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” on the radio as I write this, I think, yes. I am ready for us to be happy and stay that way. May require more regular breaks than we’ve been taking though.

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