The Key to Happyness

I often accused Andra of being a loser (of things).  But maybe instead of be a loser she was just a leaver. 
Recently, our neighbor Michelle found another thing Andra left behind, an essay titled “The Key to Happyness”. 

I have had the distinct feeling lately that I have lived three lives.  The life of my childhood, which was rich and unfettered, full of dirt and trees and scabby knees and elbows.  Summer camp, swimming in creeks and lakes and hours spent reading and writing and running around.  I lived right there, right then.  I was insecure and indecisive, but I was happy. 

Then there was my life with Phil, which started when I was 21.  It was a life of hard work, career, and confidence.  I became sure of what I wanted, and worked hard to build that life.  After 9 years of marriage, I became a mother, and I loved being a mother so much, my friends called me the Zealot.  With time, we had Grace too, and it really seems like so much more than ten years ago that I was given the gift of these two girls.  Jump rope, and kids songs, climbing trees and swimming – having children reminded me so much of my own childhood, and I was able to overcome the serious “rules” girl I was from 20 to 30, and reconnect with the  child I once was.   Putting jammies under the pillow, and enjoying popsicles in the sun, and s’mores around a campfire. I was very happy in this life.  This life was about building, and looking forward – I often had to remind myself to live in the moment in between planning and investing in our future, but isn’t hope grand?

These days when I wake up in the morning, I have a very difficult time connecting those two lives with the one I am living now.  It is a new life.  It hurts to be present, but it is agonizing to look forward at all the things that will not be.  I honestly wonder some days if I imagined those past lives because they are so hard to reconcile to this one.  And I can’t imagine ever admitting I am happy in this new life, in a broad sense, in spite of the fact that we will all have happy moments – I am sure of that.  Grace and I had loads of happy moments today – from a little mother/ daughter shopping, to a nice lunch, to ice cold peach kool-aid at a road side kool-aid stand to some sweet cupcakes.  Today alone, we strung together little happynesses like beads a necklace. But I am not sure if little happynesses can make you deeply happy, especially when you are profoundly unhappy  ten times a day.

Regardless, I live in this third life.  Next week, I will turn 43.  The next twenty one years are upon me and I can scarcely envision what they will be like.  I have been thinking, that maybe, just maybe, the key to Happyness is in accepting that this is another life, built upon the first two, but separate and apart from them as well.  If it is separate, it might be easier to actually seek happyness, real happyness, and accept it if we find it.  There will be some way to be happy in this third life, this life of three, this life of Grace.  I suppose we owe it to ourselves to search like the dickens to find it.  Perhaps I need to see this new life as a new start,  beginning where Andra left off. 

Her story, the Key to Happyness, ends this way, “This must be my key to happyness.  That’s how my story ends.  Actually, begins…”

We shall begin too.


PS When challenged, the only thing any of us could think of to say about Andra that was unflattering or bad, was that she was a bad speller.  Happyness indeed!

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4 Responses to The Key to Happyness

  1. Aunt Jane says:

    You are a wise woman.

  2. Jill says:

    Your writing is lovely Jenine. I hope happyness continues to gather for you in moments and days. Jill

  3. Michelle says:

    Actually Anna said they were studying the Constitution and Happyness was spelled that way in the Constitution. But maybe she would have spelled it that way too. Ahhh Andra!

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