Friday, April 25, 2008

Chronic Happiness



A friend marveled at what a happy person I seem to be in my blogs. She said I sound as if I’m always having the greatest fun, even when I’m bitching about something or someone (hahaha). She’s right, for the most part. I think I’ve been a happier person over-all since I moved to my present job. At mornings I’m not scrambling to beat the traffic in EDSA or C5 and in the afternoon I can leave early enough to watch the breath-taking summer sunsets along University Ave. and the comeback of the criminally funny Gobingo on TV. Weekends are mine to spend as I wish and I’m not all stressed out thinking already of the work that awaits me on Monday, which was how it used to be at my former law office. This just proves that money – which was overflowing at my former job – doesn’t buy happiness, and conversely, the lack of it doesn’t necessarily lead to misery.

I read something about chronic depression, and this guy described it as this condition where you just don’t stop being sad. (Owww. How sad is that.) If that’s so then Yoshi must have a bad case of chronic happiness. This little guy just can’t stop being happy. When I think of him I see this little skinhead with a protruding belly clapping his hands and squealing wooohoo woohoo. Because this is how he is most of the time. Within minutes after Ches or I give him a serious scolding he’s throwing his arms around us and whispering some silly secret as tho we hadn’t just lost all our love and patience for him big time. Even when Ches and I are bickering and bickering in front of him the way we very well know we shouldn’t he’d just tell us to zip our mouths and move on to whatever infinitely interesting activity he’s up to. He seems to be this very secure little person that leads Ches and I to believe that despite all we’ve managed to bungle up we must have done right with this one thing (so far).

I wish I had chronic happiness. I actually get pretty sad too sometimes. I’m sad when Ches has to go off on his now becoming regular week-long trips to Bohol or Tacloban or Davao to monitor infra projects and stuff. I mean, I’m happy for him that he’s seeing the entire country – even obscure places like Cotabato – but it’s too taxing emotionally and physically to be the lone parent at home. I told him it’s like being married to an OFW without all the dollars. Groan. I cried too when Hunter our Labrador from Didoy’s dad in Davao passed away after spending barely a year with us, a year when I wasn’t able to spend much time with him because I was pregnant and then I gave birth. I was devastated when Ate Jenny had to go back to the States and one night before he drifted off to sleep Yosh blurted out that he’s sure her house is all pink and asked me why she had to work so far away. It was then I was sure he really missed her and I felt bad because it’s heartbreaking enough for a perfectly grown adult to be torn away from a loved one, but for a pre-schooler to have to suffer it – it’s unimaginable. It should be outlawed. And then I was a total wreck again when Boots had his first illness, a bout of diarrhea after we tried to mix some formula in his solids, because I felt bad mixing my expressed breastmilk in his food that he sometimes would not finish and would go straight to the trash can, my beloved breastmilk that I spend a lot of time and effort pumping out just going down the drain like that.

But, like I told a friend, how can you stay sad when it’s summer and the sunflowers are all in bloom and the beaches are just waiting to be dived into? How can you be sad without committing the sin of discontent and ungratefulness when there’s so much love and beauty to go around and back again? My kind of happiness, while not chronic nor everlasting, is shamelessly cheap or even outrightly free. It’s Boot’s trademark smile with his eyes getting all crinkled and a dimple on his left cheek and his tongue sticking out. Ches’ love notes from way back in college. Ches’ hilarious texts, complete with animated icons. Yoshi playing peek-a-boo with Boots who never fails to oblige with a giggle. A big Snickers bar all to myself. Getting a “well done” from my favorite boss. A surprise text or call or email from my old friends like Phoebe, Kaye, Randy, Malen, Jon, Mailyn. Having your law school crush as the external counsel for your project. Finding an adaptor for my breast pump that costs much, much less than the Medela branded one. Walking on the newly-paved road in our street on lazy Sunday afternoons, with Boots squealing at the swaying leaves in the neighborhood trees. A long day at the beach that doesn’t end until sunset. A steaming bowl of noodles on a rainy day. High heels that are surprisingly comfy and do not murder your feet outright. A good, long pedicure capped off by a nail polish in any dark shade. Finding your long gone USB in the pocket of your molding coat. My pink Kamiseta jacket with embroidery and bow that fit me even when I was pregnant. Yoshi’s “wacky” and “Korean” poses when he’s in the mood for pictorials. Yoshi’s sharing a forkful of sansrival with me, even when it’s his favorite dessert. My black leather boots from CMG that makes me feel like seriously kicking someone’s behind. A tall glass of halo-halo with two scoops of ice cream from just about anywhere. Finding a picture frame with a drawing of Noah’s Ark, perfect for our Noah Jared. A daintily-wrapped gift (tho the contents be short of spectacular). Discussing the wonders of Koreanovelas with otherwise perfectly sane people like Dado, Jo and Mailyn (all lawyers too tsk tsk). The yellow flowers in the narra trees in UP campus. The McDo commercial where the gang teases some poor guy to buy burger just because his shirt is tucked in or he says something in English. Boots’ giggles when we smooch his little baby-smell neck. A book by your favorite author on sale. Discovering the beauty of a little-known indie film. Somebody paying a long-forgotten debt or one you can’t summon the courage to collect. Anything Hello Kitty. Everything Coffee Prince. Ancient churches. Lovely poems, all the better if in Filipino. The musicians who play day-long in the Manila Pen lobby and one time even played Rainbow Connection, my favorite song from my childhood. A blog like this where you let it all hang out.

The list is endless.