I’ve never called my antidepressant tablets “my happy pills,” as some do. I do celebrate the anniversary of the day I started taking them because they changed my life and that day is like another, secret birthday for me because I was reborn as someone who was able to live life, but they don’t make me deliriously happy. Depression is absolutely a brain chemical issue for me and the magic medication balances those chemicals out to a normal level. It allows me to choose to be happy. Happy still isn’t and never has been my default mood. In the days before antidepressants, my default mood was Crushingly Sad About Nothing, and with the pills, it’s Doing OK. Happiness for me, I’ve realized recently, is a choice every moment of every day. It’s easy to be happy, elated, even, when you run into a puppy on a walk or when you see a lovely sunset. But that static level of contented delight takes effort, like noticing a new bud on your basil plant or appreciating your ugly carpet because it’s easier than hardwood for your disabled cat to walk across.

I read blogs like it’s my job, and there are some bloggers who seem to lead such charmed lives, I honestly begin to wonder if they really spend their days writing poetry in their breakfast nook in their historic townhouse, cook a picture-perfect organic vegan lunch, go to a private and intimate concert, and then bike to the park to catch fireflies, rinse, and repeat. No one can live like that, right? Maybe they write bad poetry and grab takeout vegan food that’s marked down because it’s about to expire and do data entry and watch Celebrity Rehab before bed because that’s more like real life, isn’t it? But what I slowly realized is, maybe they do have the ideal life, in which case, they are lucky. And maybe they have the more mundane life, but to them, it IS the ideal life because they find these pockets of goodness. Maybe fireflies in the park DO cancel out data entry.

I could tell you that today, I hit snooze for as long as possible, cleaned the litter box, went to work and cleaned autoclaves, did yoga teacher training homework, ate cold pizza, went to yoga, shopped at Publix, and ate too many flavor blasted Goldfish, because that’s what I did today. But I could also tell you that I had the luxury of being able to sleep late in my big bed with the high-thread count sheets, with the sunlight streaming in and Ramona curled up next to me. When I got up, I got things done before work, and took my time making delicious French pressed coffee. At work, I had a change of scenery and cleaned the autoclaves with Shasta and we laughed as we slipped on the water on the ground, and then I caught up on Make/Shift magazine while we waited for the machines to finish. Back at my apartment, I opened the blinds all the way even though the electric bill is lower is I keep them closed. I lied on the floor and immersed myself in my genuinely fascinating and mind-opening yoga homework because I’m blessed enough to study to be a yoga teacher. Meanwhile, I ate pizza left over from last night when I met with my yoga teacher training mentor group at Grant Central Pizza–a group of beautiful and inspiring people. I went to yoga in the most gorgeous studio I’ve ever seen. It has wood paneling all around, sheer blue curtains, shrines and candles, and some of my favorite people in the world. On the way home, I opened my car windows and listened to cicadas and admired the pink, cotton candy-ish sunset over the Atlanta skyline. I stopped at the grocery store where people know me because I walk there all the time, and then I ate as much as I wanted to because I don’t care about calories or fat grams. After that, I listened to my Indigo Girls channel on Pandora and blogged. Because that is also what I did today. And I prefer that version.

I also realized tonight that in high school, ten+ years ago, when people asked me what college I wanted to attend and what I wanted to major in and what I wanted to be when I grew up, I only answered the last question, and my answer was, “I want to be happy when I grow up.” I had forgotten about that ambition of mine because I was busy trying to find a REAL ambition. But it turns out, teenage me was onto something, because I have achieved my goal.
Photo copyright ME, 2010