I am new at being an empty-nester. I have written about this change recently in my other blog, specifically about how people have a hard time believing that I’m okay, even happy, with this change.
Today I was listening to a CBC show, Tapestry, as I went about my errands. The title of the show was Say No to Happiness. During the show, Todd Kashdan, an associate professor of psychology, made an observation that the more often you think about how happy you are, the less happy you actually are. Initially I viewed this idea as wrong, yet as I thought about it, I have to agree.
I don’t sit around asking myself, Am I happy? What about now? Was I just feeling happy?
What does happen to me at least daily, if not more often, is someone asks me if I’m happy or, more often, unhappy. If I’m sharing something about how my daughter is likely to not be home for the summer, or how my son may go off on another research adventure, people frequently question my feelings about these possibilities. This has a tendency to make me less happy. Makes me miss my children a little bit more than the dull roar that is part of life. So, yes, the more often someone checks in with me on my level of happiness, the less happy I actually am.
When I’m left to my own devices, thinking about my life and that of my children, I am happy. And not just for them.
Perhaps it is because I know something to be true for me, something that makes me undeniably happy.
I gave my children wings. Now I want them to fly.