Monday, November 17, 2008

Being happy

There has been a lot of negative energy floating around my circles of late, and perhaps this musing would be more productive in a more public setting. I am, however, a chicken at heart, and so I write here, in the safety of my own circle of family and friends.

People will always find things to complain about, be angry about, and even quietly feel unhappy about. I'd really rather focus on things to be happy about. I like being happy. I do feel that I've had a very generous dose of luck/fate/blessing... whatever you'd prefer to call it. I certainly can't complain about my life. But is it really just my circumstances? Am I really that much luckier than others? Or is it just that I don't/can't/won't see the negative stuff around me.

I often joke with my friends that I live in a bubble of sorts. I let all the negative stuff at work, school, in the neighbourhood bounce off my bubble, while I stay snug and warm (well, not always warm) inside. In a lot of ways, I'm very naive, I'm sure. I'm certainly not very worldly. I never watch the news or read newspapers. I get snippets of the happenings around me through pieces my dad sends me (thanks Dad, keep 'em coming), through articles brought to my attention on the many web-groups I subscribe to, through overhearing conversations at work and at home. I'm a 'bad' citizen I suppose, living just for myself and my family (and my students, and the univestity, and...) And for me, that's enough.

Because, I'm happy.

I like Japan. I like living in Japan. I like my Japanese family. I look at all the crazy, unexplainable, sometimes unforgivable stuff that goes on here, and I don't need to try and change anything. I can choose my place in it all. There are things I will not bend to, and I'm lucky because I don't really have to. I have a lot more freedom here, I think, than Japanese women do, because I have the loophole built into my face, my 'alien-ness'. I'm quite obviously not Japanese, so yes, I quite obviously do some things differently. And that's ok. I know that when it's hoped or even expected that I do things in certain Japanese forms, it doesn't mean that anyone is trying to change 'me'. I can choose to do or not to do, and I understand the weight of this decision each time I make it (which is usually pretty much every day, in some form or other).

I hope that my happiness affects the people around me. I hope that others will find some way to see more happiness in their lives. I hope my children are learning from me to be themselves, to make their own decisions about what they want to do (unless its something I've told them to do - ha ha), and to find happiness around them, no matter where they find themselves, and what they are doing.

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