It has been almost 18 months since I last posted anything. Things happen, life gets in the way, and so on. But it’s time to resume.

Everyone I know carries on about how awful 2020 has been, and I am not arguing about the merits of that view. For me, though, 2019 was the year that did me in. Deaths in the family, serious illnesses, alienation among loved ones, surgeries, and more packed the calendar to the point where I found myself wailing, “It’s too much!”

And then, (some) things began to get better, even while coronavirus ravaged the land. A few months ago I discovered that I had been living with a low-grade chronic depression ever since my mother’s death more than three years earlier. I figured this out only when it lifted and I found myself thinking, “oh, so that’s what it was.” My son started college at a school that suits him to a T, even with the disruption of having to do classes by Zoom. My meditation practice finally began to perk up and feel good again. I did a three-week self retreat at home in May, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My lifelong sugar addiction seems to have disappeared.

Being at home actually suits me. Years ago I took the Myers-Briggs test and discovered I was exactly in the midpoint on the introvert/extrovert scale. This does not mean I am perfectly happy as either, but that the point at which I find balance is a specific mix of time with people and time without. Since my diagnosis of fibromyalgia, I have moved further in the direction of introversion, but I still need some contact with people. (Even my husband, a true introvert, recognizes the value of engagement with others.) In many ways my social life has improved because meeting people in cyberspace is easier than traveling to join a group or see a friend.

Being happy seems odd because such periods have been relatively rare in my life. It’s especially odd to be feeling this way as winter is approaching and the days are beginning to get dark at 4:00 p.m. It seems almost selfish to allow myself to be happy in a world full of so much suffering. But I am also realizing that it helps no one for me to allow misery to engulf me, and that I have certainly indulged in my share of it. I also accept that the causes and conditions that have led to this outcome at the moment will change. My advice to myself and others: when such a moment arrives, appreciate it.

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