I looked up casually from my book somewhere on my train journey this morning, was briefly confused about whether I was coming or going and suddenly realized something very startling, apropos of nothing – I'm happy. I'm almost terminally broke, nearly forty, about 10 kilos over my ideal weight, and my career is a revolving door. And yet somehow I'm happy.
I'm not given to counting my blessings and being grateful. In fact, I usually exist in an exalted state of resentment. I complain all the time. I throw tantrums on the smallest provocation, feel sorry for myself on none at all. And yet somehow I'm happy.
I have a good boss and nice colleagues. At least half my clients respect my work. Having known the other thing, I fully appreciate the importance of these to my overall well-being. Now and then, my Facebook newsfeed throws up a status update from some brand page that I wrote - and I'm reminded afresh that my content calendar was accepted as-is by the client. With no changes at all. Small though it is, that's two doses of job satisfaction a week, the highest rate of my working life.
When I’m done working, I have family and friends, rolled into one, a daily benediction. Actually that’s even when I’m working – I objected to being in the same office as my brother but actually it’s fun.
My flat is in a crummy building that I mutter to myself about every day, but it sits on the edge of a lovely lake that is another daily benediction (hourly on the weekends). And inside, I have room for a study, with a desk by a window through which I can see trees and rain.
Then I returned to my office from the rooftop where I’d been sitting writing this, and I found my life had changed again. It was not a nasty change – far from it – but I will have to uproot at short notice, leave the desk, the window, the lake and the family, start again with new colleagues. And I'm still 10 kilos heavier than I want to be. On the other hand, great problems hold great opportunity, and as a boss once said to me “only stupid people are not nervous”. Especially when I keep getting exactly what I wanted, quite unawares. Maybe that's why I'm happy.
In the words of ABBA, if I had to do the same again, I would, my friend.
Fernando, ABBA. Non-album single, 1975
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