It’s so easy to feel defeated, to look back on all that has been lost and feel sorry for myself. I feel it when it comes on. I’m going to take a page out of the mobster’s book and look at it from another perspective.

I’m blessed in many ways. I have a fantastic mom who didn’t hesitate to take me and my kids into her home. I have a roof over my head and I know that my mom will do her absolute best to make sure neither of my kids do without. She was instrumental in keeping Rock Star in college when Jerry Lee “lost” his job. She’s the one that loaned Rock Star the money to buy her new car. She’s the one that runs Picasso around most of the time.

I know a lot of people don’t have that. They don’t have that safety net. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt my kids and I would have been living in a homeless shelter if not for my mom.

I know there are people out there who have had to figure out rent and where to live and how to buy food and toiletries and take care of their kids all on their own. I don’t know what I would have done if that were my situation. Well, yes, I do. I would be living in a homeless shelter.

I think of people like my friend D, who at one point was living in a garage with her four kids after her husband left her and their house had been foreclosed on. I think of people like Jennifer Ball, of the Happy Frau blog, who at one point worked three different jobs and had to shop at the food pantry because she couldn’t afford groceries. Both of those women have had it a lot worse than I have had it.

Hell, I’m blessed simply by the fact that my mom is alive and well. She’s healthy and active and loves to criticize my hair and complain that I don’t call her frequently enough when she’s away in Florida.

Her: I could have been dead for a week and you’d never know!

Me: Mom, don’t be ridiculous. You’re in Florida. Your neighbors would have noticed the stench and called the authorities. I’d know.

I’m blessed to have two children who love me no matter how much I may screw up. I’m watching as Rock Star reaches her goal of admittance to nursing school. I’m listening as Picasso talks about his plans to eventually get an apartment and be self sufficient. And to drive!

Kids get older and their lives revolve around their friends. They’re involved with other things and don’t have as much time for mom or dad. I’m fortunate in that my kids both still want to spend time with me. They both like to be around me. The mobster mentioned the last time we were together that he can tell Picasso sure does love his mom. He let me hold on tightly as we skated around the ice rink.

Both of them have been fabulous and written me many notes of encouragement. I still have Picasso’s note where he told me he wished I didn’t have to work so hard and he wanted me to have something nice for my birthday and he appreciated everything I did for him. I still have Rock Star’s message where she told me I had done such a great job of being both parents she didn’t even notice her father was gone. She even bought me an anniversary gift the first year her father and I were apart.

I do worry about them. I worry about depression and anxiety with them both, but so far neither are on drugs and both are good kids.

I’m blessed to have found the mobster. I wasn’t looking for him. I wasn’t looking for anyone. I had made peace with the fact that I would be alone for the rest of my life while Jerry Lee and Harley lived happily ever after. The anti-social fuck up whose own mother and sister never thought he’d ever find a woman to marry him would be on marriage number two while I was alone with my dogs. And then from out of nowhere he found me. He thought I was funny, resilient, strong, and beautiful.

He is a true partner to me. Years ago I mentioned to Jerry Lee that running a marathon was on my bucket list. He immediately let me know that there was no way I could ever do that. It was too hard and he knew because at West Point they had to run a marathon as part of gym class, or some other requirement. Yeah? Did you have to climb Mt. Everest and swim the English Channel, too? Maybe participate in the Tour de France?

The mobster upon hearing that thought it sounded like a great idea and immediately began planning for the day we could run one together.

I know I’ve made comments about our “exotic” getaways; the truth is we always have a great time. Chillicothe, Athens, and Columbus might not be places the masses would choose to vacation but we’ve explored almost all of the nooks and crannies of the two small towns and we’re crossing things off of our list for Columbus.

We’ve discovered wineries that we love- Rockside, Wyandotte, Chateau Morrisette, Pleasant Hill, Hocking Hills, Athens Uncorked. We’ve gone canoeing and kayaking. We’ve gone to lakes and we’ve gone to the beach. We’ve seen outdoor theater, gone to weddings together, birthday parties, the zoo. We’ve had many meals out and even in these towns 6 hours away we have favorites that are familiar to us. We’ve sat through graduations together. We’ve gone ice skating, to hockey games, to football games, and to festivals. He’s gone to my company employee appreciation party twice now. We’ve brunched at a historic mansion, gone to concerts, played Pokemon Go all over the place, and explored small towns in Indiana as well. He’s attended both Family Weekends with me at Ball State. We’ve gone bowling, played arcade games, traveled to Utah, and even watched a few movies. Our running joke is that we never see movies together because we don’t have a lot of time together. We’ve been together almost 3 years and we’ve seen 4 movies- Jumangi, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Jojo Rabbit, and Jumangi 2. We’ve taken many walks together, we’ve gone to a Dickens of a Christmas, he’s accompanied me to a funeral, he’s met more of my family than my husband of 20 years ever met, and we’ve begun running together. We’ve done puzzles, we’ve spent weekends in, he’s tried to convince me of the wonders of carrot juice, and we’ve blasted Christmas carols nonstop. We’ve watched an awful lot of Bill Burr, gone Christmas shopping, drank a whole lot of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, and seen some amazing fireworks at the Blueberry Festival. In short, we have a blast together. He really is my best friend and the love of my life.

Finally, I can’t overlook the fact that I do have a job finally and I have my health, although I am currently taking high blood pressure medication.

I’m a fairly healthy person who doesn’t get sick very often and when I do, it’s usually not serious. I can move about. I live a pain free life. I have all my limbs and my sight, my hearing, and my sense of taste and smell. There are people out there that struggle with health problems. I’m blessed to not be in that position.

About that job thing… I know what it’s like to be looking and to never even get an interview. I know what it’s like to wonder if you’ll ever find a job. I certainly know what it’s like to have to work two jobs because both are part-time and neither one pays enough to cover your bills. The fact that I have a job and the fact that I no longer have to work two of them (thanks to support) leaves me feeling very blessed.

I’m not sure I can ever say that things are really looking up at my job. Don’t get me wrong. I like my job. It’s not difficult. It’s not physically demanding. Once I leave at the end of the day I leave it behind. On the down side, I’ve concluded that even if they gave me a 50% raise I would still not be making enough money to live without Jerry Lee’s support. Would I take it? Absolutely. Will it ever be offered? Absolutely not. But, things are looking up, bit by bit.

I just got my annual raise and I was told that before my supervisor leaves in June she wants to up my grade level so I can get more money, which means another raise in May. The way I look at it, if I do finally decide to venture outside of the bank, or even if I go to a different area of the bank, it’s that much more money I’m already making. I obviously wouldn’t be leaving my job for a lesser paying job. Not at what I’m getting paid.

There you have it. My moment of looking on the bright side and counting my blessings.

Sam Tries Being Grateful… and Doesn’t Succeed 

February 2015

Gratitude. That was the topic of yesterday’s post on one of my favorite blogs. If they keep this shit up it’s going to change to formerly favorite blog. The article shook me up for some reason. I was reading it with tears running down my cheeks. I know I’m in a bad place right now and I don’t know how to get out of it. I feel like everyone is against me. They’re all convinced I’m the bad guy and Zack is a saint and they are all trying to get him to leave me. Me. The person who has eaten copious amounts of shit, pushed down all my feelings, moved 20 hours closer to my husband’s whore in support of his job, and eaten the damn show lettuce so my husband wouldn’t be alone in eating it.

So let’s get started. Here is what they say about the benefits of having a grateful attitude: These researchers are finding that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:

• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness

• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.

Well doesn’t that all sound delightful? Sign me up!

And this is what one leading researcher has to say about the effects of gratitude:
1. Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present. It magnifies positive emotions. Research on emotion shows that positive emotions wear off quickly.

He goes on to talk about how we like newness. That explains some of those people who are always wondering if they will ever be happy. By being grateful for whatever it is you keep that feeling of newness alive. He believes it makes you more of a participant in your life instead of a spectator. OK, good to know information.

2. Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret—emotions that can destroy our happiness. There’s… evidence… showing that gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression.

This makes sense: You cannot feel envious and grateful at the same time. They’re incompatible feelings. If you’re grateful, you can’t resent someone for having something that you don’t. Those are very different ways of relating to the world… research… has suggested that people who have high levels of gratitude have low levels of resentment and envy.

I’m not sure I completely agree. I think you can be grateful and envious at the same time. As in I’m grateful I have two healthy children. But I always wanted 4 and it can still sometimes sting when others seem to get pregnant and gestate so easily. I also think it’s very easy to be grateful when you have everything you want.

3. Grateful people are more stress resistant. There’s a number of studies showing that in the face of serious trauma, adversity, and suffering, if people have a grateful disposition, they’ll recover more quickly. … gratitude gives people a perspective from which they can interpret negative life events and help them guard against post-traumatic stress and lasting anxiety.

I believe his belief is bullshit.

4. Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth.

Blah, blah, blah. We’re all entwined. People see worth and value in you and so now you do, too. Terrific.

So how do we get to this enlightened stage of constant gratitude for every shit thing that happens? Let’s see what the good doctor has to say about that!

At a time such as this it’s hard to see positive forces when pain and other obstacles are blaring and our fears are welling up inside. When this happens we feel stuck.

The folks at Unstuck.com say that this is a precisely when it’s a good time to be grateful. Not grateful for what has us stuck, but appreciating what doesn’t.

Gratitude helps us see our situation in a way that can lessen panic, and could open up our thinking to new solutions.

… when a crisis strikes, not only will a grateful attitude help – it is essential – and is when we have the most to gain by a grateful perspective on life…

In these instances gratitude will not necessarily come easy, nor naturally, and Emmons believes that it is vital to make a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful.

“We don’t have total control over our emotions. We cannot easily will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy…

But being grateful is a choice, a prevailing attitude that endures and is relatively immune to the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives. When disaster strikes, gratitude provides a perspective from which we can view life in its entirety and not be overwhelmed by temporary circumstances…”

Oh, ok. So then I’m very thankful my husband cheated on me. I’m thankful his entire family is still in contact with her and act as though she did nothing wrong. I’m thankful his sister begs him to leave me and tells him he deserves so much better. I’m thankful his supposed best friend has been feeding him information about this page, thereby sending him to a psych ward. I’m thankful that after promising my kids a pool in exchange for decimating their lives our yard will remain pristine and pool free. I’m thankful for moving 2000 miles away from all of my friends and activities so that we could be so much closer to his whore. I’m thankful that I no longer have anything like PTA, Bunko, or friends to occupy my time. Gives me so much more time to dwell on my gratefulness for my husband’s affair and his family’s betrayal. Hell, I’m even thankful he’s probably fucking around with her again because at least he’s happy! Oh, and don’t forget, I’m so grateful he threw me under the bus to everyone. He must really be secure in my love for him to be able to completely disregard me and any of my feelings in order to trash me to everyone. Wow! So fucking much to be grateful for!

The article then goes on to talk about remembering the bad. Well I’ve got that one in the bag!

Gratitude may be helpful for those who have experienced infidelity as research indicates that gratitude can help us cope with crisis.

“Consciously cultivating an attitude of gratitude builds up a sort of psychological immune system that can cushion us when we fall. There is scientific evidence that grateful people are more resilient to stress, whether minor everyday hassles or major personal upheavals. The contrast between suffering and redemption serves as the basis for one of my tips for practicing gratitude: remember the bad.

It works this way: Think of the worst times in your life, your sorrows, your losses, your sadness—and then remember that here you are, able to remember them, that you made it through the worst times of your life, you got through the trauma, you got through the trial, you endured the temptation, you survived the bad relationship, you’re making your way out of the dark.

Remember the bad things, then look to see where you are now.

Remembering the bad can help us to appreciate the good.

We know that gratitude enhances happiness, but why? Gratitude maximizes happiness in multiple ways, and one reason is that it helps us reframe memories of unpleasant events in a way that decreases their unpleasant emotional impact. This implies that grateful coping entails looking for positive consequences of negative events. For example, grateful coping might involve seeing how a stressful event has shaped who we are today and has prompted us to reevaluate what is really important in life.”

I am not on board with any of this. I’ve had bad things happen. I remember taking some sort of stress level quiz my freshman year of college. I had several major ones, including 2 friends dying. I don’t look back on that time in my life and think about how it shaped me. I did think to myself, “Wow- I’m stronger than I thought,” once or twice. It was good to know I could endure. But that was then and this is now. I was 17, 18 years old and had my entire life in front of me back then. I’m 45, middle aged. My life is probably half over. I have good longevity genes but I eat a lot of processed crap and drink too much diet Coke.

I can look back on all my miscarriages and say the same thing pretty much. I don’t think about it or how it shaped me. The few thoughts I have on the subject are as follows: I endured. I didn’t let myself get bitter. I tried to handle myself with grace.

But I’m not thankful T and S died. I’m not thankful I went through multiple pregnancy losses. I survived. I did what needed to be done. But I was never grateful for the struggle.

Finally, there are tips to help put all this gratefulness into action. I must learn to “reframe this experience using the language of thankfulness.” Uh huh.

What lessons did the experience teach me?

Um, that my husband is capable of lying to me and cheating on me. That his family condones his whore and her whoreish actions. That his sister wants him to leave me because she thinks he deserves so much better than me. That his best friend is out there stirring up trouble and feeding him information behind my back. That my husband will always throw me under the bus. That he will never take into account my feelings before everyone else’s. There could be more but I think that’s enough for now.

Can I find ways to be thankful for what happened to me now even though I was not at the time it happened?

That would be a big fat no. I suppose I could say at least now I know.

What ability did the experience draw out of me that surprised me?

I’m surprised at how angry I am. I’m surprised that I have finally snapped. I’m surprised I’m no longer willing to give second chances and that I truly want to destroy people. I’m surprised at how completely unforgiving I feel.

How am I now more the person I want to be because of it?

I’m not. I’m not nearly as nice. I’m not willing to overlook all the betrayals to keep the peace. I feel lost and like there is no hope. I don’t want to go on most days. If not for my kids I wouldn’t care if I died tomorrow. I don’t feel like there’s anything left. Death is coming for me and I surrender.

Have my negative feelings about the experience limited or prevented my ability to feel gratitude in the time since it occurred?

I truly don’t know. I think this move has affected me a great deal as well, so not only am I dealing with his affair, which I thought was pretty much behind us, I’m dealing with this upheaval. When I think back on it the timeline was basically this:
May ’13- half hearted, false confession
June ’13- she blocks me, I confront him, he tells me he doesn’t know if he loves me and threatens divorce if I won’t leave it alone
June ’13-August ’13- trying to win my husband back
August ’13- find out while I’ve been trying to win him back he’s been fucking around with the whore all summer. I’m told they really really like each other and that they’ve talked about sex and how much they love each other and how much they want to be together. Also told that while he’s willing to toss me aside he’s not willing to lose his kids.
August ’13- begin to rebuild and repair our marriage
September or October ’13- start hearing rumblings about him going to our new state
October ’13- find out he was planning on marrying the whore
November and December ’13- more talk about our new state
January ’14- job offered
July ’14- we move
December ’14-January ’15- he’s busy throwing me under the bus

In less than a year I’ve found out my husband was cheating on me, lying to me, planning to marry someone else all the while telling others how happy she made him and how miserable I made him, and moved 2000 miles across the country, uprooting my life and my kids’ lives. I’m also now about 20 hours closer to the whore. I’d say that’s a lot of change and upheaval so pardon the fuck out of me if it’s taking me more than a day or two to adjust.

Has the experience removed a personal obstacle that previously prevented me from feeling grateful?


Present Day Sam Says: I would add to that timeline:

February ’15- still busy throwing me under the bus

February ’15-June ’15- dealing with his supposed anxiety attacks, crying spells, and drinking. Made appointments for him, attended therapy sessions with him

June ’15- unbeknownst to me he starts sending Harley money, buys her and her daughter new phones after her husband kicks them off his plan

July ’15- he quits therapy and unbeknownst to me hooks up with Harley

August ’15- I find out he’s having an affair with Harley once again; he cuts off almost all financial aid to me and the kids

September ’15- find out he and Harley are engaged

December ’15- find out he’s been showing her naked pictures of me

February ’16- he moves out of the house and out of the state, quits his job without saying a word

June ’16- resigns his new job and stops sending money

July ’16- kids and I move 600 miles away in with my mom

It’s been a rough three years. Lots of upheaval. Everyone says it will get better. It keeps getting worse.

I’m still having a huge problem with this gratitude thing.

Let’s Try This Gain a Life Thing Again

My sweet friend J called me Saturday morning, late, wanting to know if I’d like to go to lunch with her. I had just got home around 10:30. Of course because I was hoping for a low key day the truck on Saturday was huge and I ended up staying until almost 10. I picked up carpet shampoo and things for breakfast and dinner. Picasso asked for breakfast burritos so I obliged.

Anyway, despite being tired and planning on taking a nap before I tackled cleaning the house, I said sure. I had to drop Rock Star off at a restaurant to meet a friend to work on a paper (Whew! That was a mouthful!) so we decided to go to lunch at the same place. Afterwards we drove over to where Rock Star works and took a walk. Then we went for ice cream! I was going to treat her since she bought lunch but she wouldn’t hear of it and insisted on paying for mine. Finally, we went to Kohl’s since I had some Kohl’s cash to spend. I got Rock Star a shirt she had liked and a cute little necklace that was on clearance and I got Picasso two t-shirts.  This one is my favorite:



Sunday my dad and stepmom came up to see the dogs and take us out to lunch. Yes, they really do travel to see my dogs. I’m not sure what will happen when the dogs die off. I’ll probably never see them again. Okay, it’s not that bad. They do drive up for the kids’ events as well. I think they just love driving because they’ll drive two hours, spend an hour and then return. My dad once traveled over 20 hours out my way and spent a single night. Granted he was already on a trip and I was simply a layover, but still. I drive but I stay for a while, too.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m always going to be tired. I even agreed to come in on Wednesday at Target so I’ll be working there six straight days this week. But I need the money so I guess I will try to look at it as, “Thankfully I’m able to make more money this week.”

Tired is my new default mode. I figure if I accept it and stop bitching about it maybe it will seem okay. So even when I’m tired I’ll force myself to go to games, attend conferences, go out with friends, make an attempt at creating a new life for myself. I’m sure Cousinfucker would love to hear that my life is total misery. Some days I say, “Who gives a fuck?” but today, for at least a little bit, I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. For today, at least for a little bit, I won’t lay down and die. Today, I won’t let him break me or win. At least for a little bit. I may change my mind tomorrow.

This is the cute little bracelet I bought for myself (thank you Kohl’s credit card) on Saturday. It is a reminder to me to try to brighten my attitude.


It’s not just cheaters that need to be reminded that their happiness is their own responsibility. I need to remind myself of that as well.

I won’t lie. It’s hard most times. My life has done a complete 180 compared to what it has been. But as I’ve written about before if I drop the rope and accept that the old life is completely gone then maybe I can find some good in this new one. Like, being able to pick up shirts for my kids. It’s not the shopping sprees I was able to go on but it’s something. Or, making breakfast burritos for my kids because that was what one of them had requested. Maybe Saturday morning breakfast will become a thing for us. I can go to work at 4 am, come home, make breakfast and we can spend some time together before Rock Star is off doing something. It’s not what I ever would have asked for but it’s what I have so I may as well try to embrace it. Maybe instead of dreading Christmas once again this year we can come up with some inexpensive traditions to make the holidays merry and bright. Perhaps I’ll become very good at doing things on the cheap and my kids will still have some fantastic memories instead of dwelling on all the things we no longer have.

Here’s to “bee”-ing happy despite everything.


Life Is Too Short to be an Asshole!

Life is too short to be unhappy.  May I offer a counter to that?  Life is too short to be an asshole!

My STBX-SIL, Jezebel, had a quote on her Facebook once that read: “If you are trapped between your feelings and what other people think is right, always go for whatever makes you happy. Unless you want everybody to be happy except you.”
— anonymous

I said two years ago and I still say today, “What a load of bullshit!”

CF:  Gosh, I feel like Harley will make me happy but other people might think cheating on my wife is wrong.

STBX-SIL:  Oh, don’t you worry about that!  You need to do what makes YOU happy!  You deserve it.

No, he deserves a 2×4 upside his head for being such an asshole!  You don’t move your wife and kids across the country and THEN decide your happiness resides with some white trash whore!

Is this really what we want to teach our kids?

“Hey, Junior, I see you found a wallet stuffed full of $100 bills.  What do you say we turn this into the lost and found?”

“Hmmm…. nah.  That wouldn’t make me happy.  I’d rather spend it.  You see, I felt really happy finding all this money and thinking about all the video games and iTunes and other teenage crap I might want to buy.  The thought of returning it makes me decidedly UNhappy.  So, I’m going to keep it.  Because if I’m trapped between my feelings and what other people think is right I should always go for what makes me happy.”

“You know, son, that is true.  Who can argue with that logic?  Who cares if this person probably just cashed his paycheck and this is all the money he has for the next two weeks to pay rent, buy groceries, support his kids, etc.  All that matters is that YOU are happy!”

If that’s your reaction then pat yourself on the back for you have done a bang up job as a parent!  Not!

We could do this on many topics.  Your kid doesn’t like another kid and teasing him or her mercilessly makes your kid happy?  Do it!  If it makes you happy then it can’t be wrong (and if it is, who cares?  Your happiness is the only thing that matters!).  If doing homework, or going to school or brushing teeth makes your child/children unhappy then by golly, you just let them follow their bliss to rotten teeth and Fs in school.  Far better for them to be happy than well educated with a mouthful of their own teeth. You want to take a cruise or go on some luxury vacation instead of paying your mortgage and buying groceries?  Will that make you happy?  Then DO IT!  You take that mortgage payment and you go have the time of your life for a week or two.  You owe it to yourself.  Life is too short to forego vacations for pesky things like mortgages and utilities. Your sibling starts up an affair with someone who is married and has children?  Who are you to judge?  Support them because if they are happy who cares how the betrayed spouse and kids feel!  They’ll get their happiness soon enough.  Your daughter thinks dancing on a pole at a strip club will make her happy?  Buy stock in that club!  Support your baby girl’s dreams because, again, if it makes her happy, what could possibly be wrong with it?  Your son wants to become a male escort and take middle aged women for all their money?  Hey, who are you to say that’s wrong?  If he’s HAPPY then you must support him!  Do your kids want to do/make/sell drugs?  Take a car out for a joyride?  Knock off a liquor store for extra cash?  Torture kittens and puppies?  Kidnap and imprison women for dozens of years?  LET THEM!  They have a right to be happy!  Don’t be so damn judgmental!  You are harshing their buzz!  It takes a very enlightened person to follow their bliss instead of doing the right thing.

I will once again direct you to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote:

The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

I’m going to toot my own horn here.  Up until we moved this last time I was very involved in various activities.  I was active in my church when we lived in Michigan.  I volunteered in the nursery for a while one Sunday a month and as my youngest aged I moved up with him.  Eventually I was volunteering in the children’s church every Sunday.  I joined the Meal Team and helped prepare the meals whenever there was a big study program.  I even became a small group leader.  I joined a MOPS group at another church where my daughter went to preschool.  I volunteered to be on the Hospitality team and helped provide breakfast twice a month.  Eventually I helped to charter a MOPS group at my own church which was a huge undertaking.  As far as I know that MOPS group still exists today, some ten years later; I’m not there but it is.  I volunteered at my daughter’s school.  I volunteered at my son’s preschool and served on the board.  And once we moved to Utah I got involved in PTA, serving on 3 different boards at once there towards the end.  I volunteered in the kids’ classrooms. I volunteered as team mom for hockey and helped with gymnastics meets.  I gave my time.  I got involved.  I helped.  I nurtured.  I volunteered.  I didn’t look to vacations, pretty jewelry, new cars, fancy gadgets and new love to give my life meaning.  I poured my heart and soul into my children, my family, my volunteering; I enjoyed serving others and making their lives easier.  There were many times I wondered if this was all there was, but I continued on.  I made the best of my circumstances despite my husband’s reluctance to join us.  I was, if not happy, then content.  I had a purpose.  I had a function.  To tie it into Emerson’s quote I was useful, compassionate, and made some difference that I lived.

I don’t think STBX or anyone in his family understands that.  It’s all about the elusive happiness.  If you’re not happy with one person then move onto the next for surely you will be happy then.  My STBX-SIL is incredibly happy with her life right now.  It’s all about trips and adventures and new love and what everyone in her life is buying for her.  It’s about her new husband showering her with gifts and attention.  It’s about reinventing herself once again.  But you rarely hear about her doing anything for him or those in her orbit.  It’s all about her.  Look how much everybody loves me and thinks I’m wonderful!  Look at everything they do for me!  Even the one thing that she does, which is singing, is more about her and the attention she receives, than serving anyone else.  That’s why, when her father-in-law whom she had known for all of approximately 2 years at the time, was in the hospital she was able to go be with him for two weeks.  He lives in a state she loves to visit.  She has snowed her in-laws and they shower her with trinkets and tickets and lots of fun stuff.  When her brother, whom she has known for over forty years, was hospitalized, she couldn’t manage to find time to come visit him.  If you could see me, you would see that this is my shocked face!  We don’t live in a state she loves to visit, and since she had been begging him to leave me the chances that I would be trying to win her over with trips, trinkets, and toys was nil.

CF, I’m sure, is doing the rounds of, “I hadn’t been happy in years.”  What did he ever do to try to make himself happy?  Locking yourself in your bedroom and watching television all night long is not going to bring about any huge change in your life.  You’re not full of purpose.  Meanwhile, I did everything I could to make him happy but it was never enough.  I knew years ago that I could never make him happy; it has to come from within and he just doesn’t have that ability.  He told me once that he’s afraid to let himself be too happy because nothing has ever gone right in his life and he’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Oh, sure, he thinks he’s happy now.  He’s got his shiny new whore and her four kids who pay homage to him.  He’s the king!  He’s bringing shiny, new toys into their lives and making sure they want for nothing.  But at some point he’ll start looking around, waiting for that shoe to fall.  According to my source, while the kids tell him to his face how wonderful he is they talk crap about him behind his back.  And Harley?  Well, rumor has it she’s still sleeping with her husband.  The funniest part of all of this?  Those people have never seen him at his worse.  She’s cheating on the good version of him!  They haven’t had to deal with his moods, his “issues”, his reluctance to do anything as a family.  No, he’s on his best behavior.  He’s throwing money around and acting like Father (and Husband) of the Year.  As an added bonus, since he’s not with them every day it’s fairly easy, I would imagine, to keep that mask in place.

I came across an article in The Atlantic online, entitled, “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy”.  It’s from January 9, 2013 and it centers around Viktor Frankl, who was a concentration camp survivor and who wrote the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, and a new study which was coming out in the Journal of Positive Psychology, later that year (2013).  The study was regarding people who were asked if they thought their lives were meaningful and/or happy, and examining the factors that led to their happiness and/or meaningful lives.

It was a very interesting article and I couldn’t help but think of CF and his family when I read it.  Frankl’s viewpoint is this:  It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.

This makes perfect sense if you think about the quest for happiness as a drug.  We search for that elusive happiness, that trinket, that relationship, that experience, that is supposed to make us happy.  And it does.  For a while.  And then we crave more.  That’s why they say happiness is fleeting.  In another article I read almost a year ago that dealt with gratitude a researcher talked about how we all like newness.  Same deal as with happiness.  This new thing makes us happy.  But positive emotions wear off quickly so we need more newness.  By actually being GRATEFUL for what you have you keep those feelings of newness alive.  Gratitude was found to enhance positive emotions.  But too many people are focused on being happy instead of being grateful.  Or doing the right thing.  Or living a meaningful life.

Even more interesting was what the psychologists found regarding a happy life versus a meaningful one.  Leading a happy life is associated with being a “taker” while leading a meaningful life corresponds with being a “giver”.  Is anyone surprised?  The psychologists go on to say, “Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided.”  Bingo!  Happiness is all about the good times.  Keep anything difficult or unpleasant out of the equation because then you might not be happy.  We need happiness at any cost.

Also not surprising is the fact that they found that happiness is all about feeling good.  Happy people tend to think that life is easy, they are in good physical health, they are able to buy the things they need and want.  They found that the lack of money decreases how happy and meaningful people rated their lives, and they also found that lack of money had a much greater impact on happiness.  Color me surprised!

Probably the most important thing they discovered is that the pursuit of happiness is associated with selfish behavior.  Ah yes, that taker vs. giver issue.

One of the authors of the study put it this way:  Happy people get a lot of joy from receiving benefits from others while people leading meaningful lives get a lot of joy from giving to others.  Ah, so that explains why it is that cheaters are so damn selfish while proclaiming their “happiness”.  They are receiving benefits from other people.  They are taking.  They wouldn’t recognize profound and meaningful if it slapped them upside their meaty little heads.

Basically, what this article concludes is that this pursuit of happiness is bullshit.  Happiness is fleeting.  It can change on a dime.  It’s a hamster wheel.  Run, Forrest, run!  A meaningful life endures.  Happiness is the dessert- delicious and full of empty calories.  A meaningful life is the main course- substantive and full of the protein and fat that will get you through to the next meal

The Happiness Factor (And Other Such Bullshit)

A quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

The purpose of life is not to be happy.  It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Wow- such a stark contrast to my dipshit soon to be ex sister-in-law, my lying, cheating husband and the rest of his worthless family.  Quick disclaimer:  They’re not all worthless.  The ones he spends most of his time with, though… yeah, total lost cause. Their motto is:  Whatever makes you happy.  Or better still:  If you have to choose between what is right and what makes you happy, always go with being happy.  Who cares how many people you step on to get your happiness?  Who cares how many people you hurt, destroy, discard, disappoint?  If it makes you happy then it is always ok.  Don’t you worry about shattered lives.  Don’t worry about your kids.  Just focus on YOU!

Fuck all of you!