Happiness and the Inverse Relationship

Posted on April 24, 2008


When I think back on my mid twenties, I remember being  bitchy, overworked, and totally disillusioned. The hope and optimism I had coming out of college was bitch-slapped out of me after my first feeble attempt at moving to the city and trying to find a job, and certainly didn’t return after a stint of teaching (i.e. “giving back”) or in corporate education (i.e. “giving back + $$”) or in an urban school district (i.e. “if the kids don’t shoot you, the superintendent will make you shoot yourself”). But it wasn’t all dark and dismal. Ok, it was, but add to dark and dismal a few martinis, and I could be the life of the party. I was the gal co-workers could rely on for shit-talking  and long lunches, the chick that had no problem discussing how she would sleep with the VP of Finance during company meetings, the first lady of blacking out and doing karaoke at company functions. Sure, when I was alone, I was terribly depressed and anxious all the time, but all that could be channeled into creating this borderline self-destructive persona that was fun and likeable.

But then it got old, and I got a therapist. In my late-mid-twenties, I embarked on a personal development journey to destination: happiness. I started therapy; I worked out more; I cut back on hours at work; I applied to grad school; I wrote more. I learned a lot about myself during this time, like why I hated men and how to anticipate my intoxicated anxiety attacks and subsequent breakdowns. The sublime tension between my old self and my new recognition was fuel for much of the work I did.

Currently, my personal development cruise ship is docked as I approach my 29th birthday. The voyage isn’t over, but I’m trying to test out being on solid ground. I wrapped up therapy, finished grad school, added yoga to my workout ritual, and tried to start a business with my husband. I am happy, I am calm, I am . . . vacant. When catching up with friends, I have nothing to say. I just smile absently and say things are good. I have nothing to write about. Nothing pisses me off. What is there to talk about when you work from home and get to workout midday and eat well and sleep in. Fucking nothing, for weeks at a time. I know, boo-hoo, poor me. But the thing is I’m afraid that my bitchiness and anger was my life force, and now that it’s gone I am an empty shell, a well-balance, peaceful empty shell. For me, there is an inverse relationship between happiness and productivity.

Posted in: all me, writing