A little more than a year has passed since I moved back home. And just under a year since I started this blog. Many have asked if I’m glad to have started writing again. Meanwhile, I continually berate myself, “Are you glad you chose to move back?”
I’m unsure if I’ll live in this area forever, but the decision to start this blog was a no-brainer. Blogging is, by all accounts, time consuming. Plus, I, all too often, have those moments in which I must force myself to sit down and write. Openly disclosing my personal details for all to read is one thing. But it takes a great deal of self disciple and mental fortitude to coerce myself to start typing away, when, in truth, I’d much rather indulge in that mindless television show I can hear in the other room.
But once I start writing, I’m engulfed by history and memories. It all comes rushing back like the tidewaters. And I’m instantly taken away to a different time, forcing myself to remember what I have shoved away for far too long. In those moments, I find reason to smile. Or I deal with the sadness. Whichever emotion, this blog has been therapeutic. It has also helped me profess my beliefs in a way that has added much-needed clarity for my own life.
On many occasions, I have received emails, private messages, and comments regarding my blog. They have come from people of all walks of life. Some have been touched by my personal account because they, too, know someone who has suffered from alcohol and/or narcotics addiction, even suicidal tendencies. Or they themselves daily struggle with anxiety and depression much like my father and, well, me. And then there is the general audience that simply enjoys how my tale has unfolded.
Whatever your reason for reading my words — this blog — I have been equally touched by the kind words you have reciprocated. And it has made this year-long journey a worthwhile effort. My mantra has been: If only I can touch just one life through this blog, I will be content.
If you’ve been following along, you know that my mantra is double sided: Maybe the one life I can touch is my own. Since my move back home, life has been in a transitional phase. Living with my parents. Unsure in which box I stored this or that. Should I really buy a house or just rent? Not knowing anyone in an area I haven’t called home in 13 years. Lacking a social life and wondering where I fit in, if at all.
Everything seems to be on hold, in limbo, with no clear-cut sign pointing me in any particular direction. That has had a snowball’s effect on my psyche, leaving me overwhelmed by indecision, burdened by the unknown, stressed by the silence.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my family, and spending more time with them has been the ultimate silver lining. My nieces are angels, although, depending when you ask her, my sister might disagree. I’m forever indebted to my parents for their generosity in letting me live with them until I can regain my bearings. I like my job and the people with whom I work, and, for the first time, I actually feel like I’m on a career path, not a one-and-done job. I’m more financially sound than ever. I’m in the best shape of my life. For the most part, my life is on the up and up, certainly a far cry better than when I started this blog in 2012.
Despite all the seemingly good, I’m not all that happy. And so a recent visit to the psychiatrist has begged the question: Why not? I think he phrased it differently, adding an element of psychobabble, “What is your capacity to be happy?” Whatever. The action item remains the same: I must return in six weeks with a semblance of an answer.
Maybe I don’t know how to be happy. Or perhaps I won’t let myself be happy. Maybe happiness is just an overhyped, overused term that can’t be defined or qualified. What is happiness, true happiness, anyway? Ask 10 people, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers.
Happiness has been all the rage lately, even sparking a vast collection of books on the topic. Visit a Barnes & Noble, and you’ll likely run into The Happiness Project or The Geography of Bliss, both attempting to define happiness but, as both discover, realizing that happiness is subjective, based on a person’s culture, religion, family, economics and the like.
If happiness is subjective, I will take the concept of “the search for happiness” and analyze it from my own viewpoint. While books like those mentioned above incorporate plenty of snooze-worthy philosophy to get at the true nature of happiness, I’m no Descartes or Confucius. If I may be selfish (it is my blog, isn’t it?), my blog, The Book Project, will now take a different turn, looking at happiness as I see it and how I can become a happier person.
Certainly what you have read to date — the accounts of my childhood and the past year of life — plays a role.