Happiness is… (or Walking down Memory Lane part deux)

Had my second walk down memory lane yesterday and found some unexpected truths along the way. For instance, there is a huge difference between “some things never change, yet nothing’s the same” and “everything changes, yet everyone’s the same”.

Did I enjoy myself? Sure I did. It was.. nice. Did I think it was a great party, sad to leave? No. Definitely not.

When signing up to these two events, last week’s jubilee dinner and this week’s gala dinner, I had my thoughts on how they would end. Not having set foot in one of the settings for almost ten years, I felt it was such a long time ago, how could I possible have anything in common with these people. But the event that was to take place yesterday, that one I had high hopes for. Sure, I’ve felt I don’t really belong there any more these last two years or so, but I’ve blamed it on age or something similar. Seeing as a bunch of “oldies” were attending this particular function, I was looking forward to it an awful lot.

So what happened? Why was I laughing so much a week ago, and almost not at all yesterday? Why didn’t I think spending over a 100 euros last week was a waste of money, when I couldn’t even be bothered to get one drink for 4 euro yesterday? I don’t know really. But I think the key is in some of the comments received during both nights.

“Hi, so good to see you, you look great, what’s your secret?”

vs

“Are you happy? Really? Why?”

***

“How I’m doing? Well, I’ve had my ups and downs, I mean, haven’t we all, but I decided to quit my job/move/build a house, now I feel grateful every morning. You know. I can see on the way you look that you know exactly what I mean.”

vs

“Oh, it’s okay, I guess. I don’t like my work though. I’ve met someone, but I don’t think it’ll work out. I’m just sick and tired of everything, you know. I still don’t understand why you’re looking so smug. You don’t even have a ring on your finger.”

***

“So, what are you doing these days? Writing? Great, I remember you doing that already 15 years ago, good for you! I heard you have a text in the jubilee book, looking forward to reading it!”

vs

“Why don’t you organise parties anymore? I don’t see any of you these days, you need to organise something, I want to see people. Life is so boring these days.”

Disclaimer:

For those of you now feeling badly quoted, rest assured, each and every above mentioned comment is a summary of at least three equal statements said to me. You weren’t the only one. But if you recognise even the slightest hint of your own voice, instead of getting upset I’m bringing it up, do something constructive with it. And if you feel I misunderstood what you said, remember it’s not what you think you’re saying that counts, it’s what the other person hears.

What did I learn from this?

There’s a reason why you leave some things behind you. When enough time has passed, it can be extremely fun to go back for an evening. But if you go back too soon, and you realise some people are still in that time loop, you need to tread carefully.

At the end of the evening, a close friend said I seem a bit damped. “I know”, I said and suddenly remembered how really down this place got me last time I was there. Deciding to regain my energy, I stood up and bid my goodbyes.

Walking home, I met a young fellow who told me I have an adorable hat. With that one comment, the shadow that was following me, disappeared.

Today the sun is shining bright, and my washing machine is having a good day. As soon as it has finished spinning (it remembered this all by itself!), I’m heading out to watch the official opening of the Christmas street with my sis and nephew, followed by The Hunger Games with a good friend.

Happy Sunday, people!

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2 comments

  1. Seems like you had a lot more positive people at your party last week. There are always some who find a way to put a negative spin on things or push responsibility for their own happiness on to other people. I try and stay away from them as much as possible. Also, it always amuses me how some people are incredulous that you can be happy even if you aren’t doing the usual things like getting engaged/married/pregnant… something that seems to happen quite regularly nowadays (the incredulity that is).

    1. Spot on, Claire, spot on. It never seizes to amaze me how people year in and year out find those negative spins on things.. and I think it has a lot to do with what I wrote in the little disclaimer as well; it’s not you saying it that really matters, it’s how you say it, and how the other person hears it.

      The same thing when some people keep assuming I’m angry all the time, that I walk around throwing profanities around me, hitting people, or shooting stuff just because it doesn’t work the way I want it to. Every time someone gives me a comment like that, it really saddens me, as people seem to mix intellectual strength and wit with uncontrolled temper and abusive behaviour. They don’t seem to realise that those words are hurtful to someone who’s really an emotional creature deep inside. But, when taking a step back, looking at why they just said what they did, I realise it really says more about their own state of mind than of mine.

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