Who would have thought that I’d be writing an article on the topic of happiness and satisfaction after everything that we have been through this year due to the COVID-19 virus? After having experienced so much insecurity and uncertainty in the air, how could that be a time to think about happiness?
When I was 19, my then-boyfriend told me that his mother, on a recent business trip, had been in a restaurant where people paid $50 for lunch—which would be three times that in today’s dollars. He said that he dreamed to one day be in a position to buy that kind of lunch. “That’s freedom!” he said.
My father had profound mental health issues which caused him, my mother, and us seven siblings much grief. I had a very unhappy childhood.
When I was two years old, I was seriously scalded by a pot of boiling water. To this day I still bear the scars over several parts of my body.
Dressing my three preschool sons alike seemed sensible at the time. It made clothes shopping easier, for one, and because they were brothers with similar builds and complexions, they looked good in the same clothes. At home it gave a sense of order, however superficial, to a household with three little boys in perpetual motion, and in public it showcased what I was sure was the most adorable set of kids ever.
I looked at the mirrored wall at the gym as I moved through the tai chi motions and had the most surprising thought. I never knew I was so beautiful.
Let me explain.
I read a post by Rabbi Evan Moffic the other day that made a lot of sense to me. Here’s the last paragraph:
Lately, when I have gone to the bank I’ve noticed that I now only have to show some identification and then put my right thumb on a biometric reader. This effortless action conjures up all the information needed from my personal bank account and I’m able to withdraw my money without any further procedures.
“That’s not fair” must have been my three most-used words when growing up. It seemed that someone—or everyone—always had it better than me.
By my early teens I had a well-developed measure-and-analyze mindset, and I was particularly obsessed with comparing my looks, personality, and abilities with those of other girls my age.