You know what’s wrong with me? See if it’s what’s wrong with you, too.

We expect certain things. They don’t happen in the way we’d expect, since the odds of that would be one in impossible. We’re disappointed. But we don’t want to admit we’re unhappy. So we dump glitter on everything and talk ourselves into the decision that Life is great and that we’re happy.

But then you run out of the energy it takes to keep that up. I did last night.

I was happy last Sunday night. On Monday morning, I became happier because someone at Unemployment told me I was eligible for benefits, and that the amount would be determined—she hoped—by the end of the week. So last night, when the amount still wasn’t determined and they will all be closed on Monday whooping it up in their powdered wigs and stovepipe hats, I became unhappy. When I coupled that with the fact that the application for the annuity to cover my daughter’s health insurance premiums gets more complicated with every new phone call, I became more unhappy.

I’d planned on attending last night’s book club meeting, but when it came time to go, I didn’t want to discuss a book about spiritual ideas because I was pissed at spiritual ideas. I just wanted to be happy, dammit. Really happy, not talking-myself-into-it happy via some theory. Happiness that just happens. Happeniness.

Somewhere I’d read that this whole subject of whether or not you’re happy is relatively new. People used to be too busy trying to survive to think about it, and now having time to question whether or not they’re happy is a lot of pressure. It began to be emphasized that the Declaration of Independence says the pursuit of Happiness, to deter Americans like me from considering happiness a right.

Well, maybe a document can’t give me that right, but I can. Here’s an idea: Happiness is the feeling you have when you see things the way they are. You can pursue other things in an effort to enjoy more happiness.

And while the focus is on unmet expectations, other areas may be exceeding expectations. While my unemployment remains pending, my daughter’s eyes are beginning to sparkle more.

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