@Eli_Freysson, that sounds like a really nice night. Really glad you felt you could give some value. I have a phrase I use in business, but I think it's pretty broadly applicable: "If you give value, you get value."
Meanwhile, I drove into work this morning feeling pretty blue. As you guys know, I'm either pretty good at being happy or pretty bad at facing troubles. Or both.
Do not read if you want to avoid stupid internal monologue.
Spoiler for Hiden:
My son called me yesterday at work. He's almost 30 (!), but alone in life mostly, living and working on a farm in a lightly populated area of Ohio. He spends huge chunks of time every day by himself; and as he says, his own mind can be his worst enemy. So he obsesses on little things and big things. It's really hard to know your kid isn't happy in life.
Meanwhile, my daughter broke up with her boyfriend. She doesn't have many relationships, and this is the first in which she really thought: this one. But, boyfriend does not want kids. Ever. And Celia does. They still talk almost daily (it was always a long distance relationship), but the romance is called off. Now, this summer, Celia moves from Virginia to boyfriend's town in Massachusetts (8 hours drive north for the U.S. geography challenged among us) where she will spend 2 years in a masters program in teaching Latin. The good news is she'll get a license to teach in government-run schools (she's been teaching at a private academy). The semi-good news is she gets a respite from teaching. The not so good news is I don't think teaching Latin - or even teaching - are necessarily the life long answer for her but she doesn't know what else might be and has no confidence she could make a transition.
It's really hard to know you can't wave a wand for your kids to be happy in life. And you feel like a failure, but know you're not, and they're not.
And then there's the numerous times I do thoughtless things that set off Mrs. JMack, and the numerous times her constant stress response setting of DEFCON1!!! causes me to overreact to minor things.
And then there's.......
I coined a new term on the drive in today: "FOC'd". It means "screwed by your own Failures of Character".
Well, there's my cheery maunderings for the day. For anyone who actually read that, thanks for letting me type it out and I apologize.
Ah, happiness. That odd concept.
I'm 34 years old now. I live alone in a small apartment, my car is 20 years old, I don't have any particular job market skills, and my writing career is currently going nowhere.
I occasionally worry about all of this, but those days are getting rarer.
Last summer I was bicycling on a sunny day, and passed by a nice house. I thought to myself "Man, it would be good to live there". But then another thought immediately followed: That it would be good for a while
. Then the shine would wear off, and it would just become a part of daily life. Like getting a new shirt.
While I have never tasted wealth, I have it from plenty of sources that it does nothing to add to one's overall happiness. And in spite of everything I mentioned earlier, I am happier today than I have ever been.
I believe a large part of our happiness comes from other people, but that at least an equal part comes from within. From being satisfied with yourself, and free of stress. I tried the job market, and coupled with my problems it often drove me up the wall. A part of it was no doubt due to my jobs being poorly suited to someone on the autistic spectrum, but I ask myself what traditional job I would like, and the answer is: None of them. Writing is the only thing that calls to me, and that's what I'm doing.
More importantly, I'm ever more learning to be at peace with myself. I'm more and more coming to terms with shortcomings that ultimately aren't my fault, and realising that I shouldn't pine for some arbitrary measure of success that society holds up as a driving goal. Who do I need to impress? When I lie on my death bed, I'm not going to fondly look back on all the work I did. I'm going to think about the people in my life, and the good times I had, and the stories I wrote.
Now, I'm not some serene monk, and my life isn't perfect. I sure could do with more company, and I do realise that not having a family to feed and getting disability money from the state allows me a certain carelessness. I do have moments of feeling guilty about that, but also moments of feeling that I've damn well paid for it, and it's not like I'm living the high life. I'm just lucky enough to be able to be satisfied with little.
This got a little longer than I intended, and maybe a little off-track, but my point is that ultimately we have to make our own happiness. My parents have done what they can by being ready listeners during the dark times, and by doing their best. The rest is up to me.