Ponder this:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cheerful: An addendum to "August 16, 1980"

Years ago, I saw Beverly Sills interviewed on television. I think the question was, "Are you happy?"
Ms. Sills looked into the interviewer's eyes for several seconds, and answered, "I'm cheerful."
Cheerful is the whistling in the dark equal of happy.
Cheerful is making the best of things, not admitting to wishing you could do some things over, not ever [out loud] feeling sorry for yourself.
Most of the time, out loud, I'm cheerful.
Most of the time I don't give voice to the bleak depths of my horrors and the dreary sludges of my moods.

A friend told me that she wants me to remove "underachiever" from my "About Me."
I have a cousin who chairs a big philanthropic organization, another who weaves baskets of all types. I have a friend who is an architect at her office three days a week and spends the other four days raising her daughter, leading the Girl Scout troop, stenciling her walls, making floor cloths. I work with a woman who walks three miles every morning before work, bakes and needlepoints every evening. 
I wait on the pets and, in between pet tasks, stare around me at the hills and the butterflies, and read and blog.
Thanks be to God, I also have a friend who feels that being and appreciating is enough.

When I reread my anniversary post, I thought, "It sounds as if it's all been uphill!"
It hasn't.
Around our ten-year mark, we found The Land. This land, where I sit now, with the hills and the sunsets, the crickets and katydids, the orioles and deer and fishers and the occasional black bear. Where I found, while the house was being constructed, a Luna Moth on one of the wooden studs of the exterior wall, where I had the thrill of having a grasshopper chew off a few cells of fingertip skin as I held him.
Husband gave me this dream life. He says I did it too, but he's the one who made it possible.
Being married to each other is what made it possible for both of us.
We are each other's cheerleaders. We've been, for each other, the parents that we might have had: we've brought each other up. I taught Husband the pleasure of reading. He taught me to be cheerful. 


Autumn Mist said...

I have a husband who moves through life at a completely different speed to me. He takes a lot of painkillers and now probably has gall stones. As the poet says, 'What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?' I guess some of us just aren't afraid of silence and don't have to be constantly on the go in order to prove ourselves.

Friko said...

You and me both, dear June, you and me both.

I stand and stare, I tend the dog, the elderly husband, I cook dinners, I read and write and blog. And I garden.

I resent feeling the need to achieve, i resent being asked to do more than i can or want to do. I am lazy and happy to sit back.

The dark thoughts are part ad parcel of me, I'll never get rid of them now.

Underachiever? Survivor, more like. As you are. Over the time we've 'known' each other I have learned that about you. Of that I'm certain.

Cheerful? Me? I'm not sure. Sometimes, maybe.

Grandmother Mary said...

You're sharing wisdom hard earned: "being and appreciating is enough" and "we are each other's cheerleaders". One is the recipe for personal happiness and the other for interpersonal happiness of the spousal kind. Thanks.

Hilary said...

You are blessed to be able to enjoy, respect and learn from what surrounds you. That's a true gift.

Tom said...

I know plenty of people who walk three miles a day, or have responsible positions in big organizations, and are miserable. It sounds like you have it made in the shade. Good for you!

Olga said...

That is a welcome addition to someone just hearing (or reading) the story of your life. Nicely said.

Sally Wessely said...

Lovely. I love how you say so much with so few words. It is a skill I wish I had. You are not an underachiever when it comes to living well and writing well.

Wanda..... said...

You are my kind of girl, June! :)

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

You're definitely not an underachiever . Your life sounds wonderful and you LIVE it , instead of running about like a headless chicken .
Congratulations to you and your husband for all that you've built together !

C-ingspots said...

I am so very thankful that not all people around me are "overachievers". I already feel like I "should be" doing more all the time, and feel guilty for not wanting to. You, wise one, seem to have found the secret to being content, and that's what we're all looking for (I am). We are who we are...and our uniqueness is what makes us each special in our own right. I am so thankful to read your words - many days they are a blessing to me. Your commenters sound wise too.

Carolynn Anctil said...

Nothing wrong with cheerful. I think you should remove Underachiever too. It's all relative and who made the rules that define one thing as better than another. I happen to believe that seeing to a pet's needs is a pretty lofty pursuit.