I’m not so happy about this…!

happy, not happy, new yearA little over a year ago my daughter celebrated the birth of her third baby.

Her first child, Sophie, was 4, the middle boy Clark was 3, and now a baby. Everyone was thrilled: the parents, grandparents, baby, sibling, family, baby boygreat-grandmothers, aunts and uncles, and friends.

And everyone told Sophie and Clark how very lucky they were to have a baby brother.

A day after the baby was born, when the last guest left, patting Sophie on the head saying, “You must be a happy big sister!”, Sophie cuddled up on the hospital bed next to her mother, who was nursing the baby.

“MaMa?” Sophie began.

My daughter turned her gaze from her fresh, newly hatched being and gazed at her daughter. “Yes?”

Sophie whispered apologetically and guiltily, “I’m not so happy about this.”

Ah, how well we understand the misgivings, fears, and acknowledgements that new circumstances, changes, and relationships do NOT make us happy.

change, New Year

Like when my guy moved us from our perfect setting in the bay area, with moderate temps, a great group of friends, a fun job, and comfortable routines, for his new job in New England. I acted thrilled, gaily checking out the real estate, the university that our son attended just miles away in Boston, and the need for a new wardrobe for a 4-season-state. But inwardly, I was NOT so happy about this.

Yet, I jumped into a new job, tutoring special ed high school students, learning a million new facets of myself. I grew close to my mother-in-law, whom I’d never really known because we’d always lived thousands of miles away. I discovered the beaches of Cape Cod and the lakes in New Hampshire, and delved more deeply into writing (and writers) while living just a few steps away from Louisa May Alcott’s and Henry David Thoreau’s spiritual and brick & mortar homes.

I even learned to like Baked Beans, lobster, and the soundless arrival of snow.

changes, New Year

During this time, a New England friend, happily traveling throughout the world in his upper management position, was suddenly “retired early.” Oh, how he fought what he saw as a downturn in his life. How could the company possibly live without his skills? He sulked, he ranted, and he knew he was not ready to “go out to pasture,” as he spouted to anyone who listened. He was not so happy about this!

But he surprised us all in a breathtaking way by signing up for a position in a non-profit organization that trained the disabled so they could acquire jobs and make a living for themselves. My always-corporate friend now earns a salary a quarter of what he’s used to, hobnobs with women and men who have less than a high school education with tough sad backgrounds and sadder tales of struggling in this world.

His corporate experience helps him procure donations and grants, and he encourages companies (like the kind he used to work for) to hire the needy who he represents. He has made a difference, and he is a happy man –feeling a deeper purpose in his life. His hours and his attitude are more relaxed; thus, his golf game has improved dramatically!

happiness, change, journey

Can you think of the changes in your life in which you were NOT SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS?

And then what happened?

HAPPY (and maybe sometimes, NOT SO HAPPY) NEW YEAR TO YOU!

baby, sibling, sister, brother, happy

Sophie, now VERY HAPPY with her baby brother.

37 thoughts on “I’m not so happy about this…!

  1. I can tell you one – when we were in the Albuquerque Airport, welcoming my son home from Iraq, and he told me, “I’ve been re-assigned to Minot, ND.” WTH? North Dakota? It took me over two years to come to grips, but now I have a pretty cool job, loads of friends, and, best of all, I am still with my family. The weather still stinks, though.


    • I guess sometimes change can be freezing cold. However, I know that your family keeps you warm. And I also know that you would not have avoided that change for anything. Glad you are following your happiness!


  2. Thank you, Pam. I have just returned from one week in Montreal with Christie – a big change from my prior 21 Christmases but it was beautiful and full of soft snow. Thank you for the wise words in this piece!! Happy New Year. Love, Barb


    • Ahh, you, my friend, are in the midst of a mighty change. As strange as it will be, I have no doubt that you will experience great bouts of happiness! Can’t wait to hear about your trip (the literal, as well as the figurative one…)


  3. I was a newly-minted, sealed-and-certified Occupational Therapist, not my first nor even my second choice of occupations. I had to work for the state for a year and wound up at a hospital for the retarded…severely retarded, profoundly physically disabled individuals…my absolute last choice of populations. I was beyond “not so happy with this”. Then the laws changed, treatment for all individuals regardless of mental or physical capacity was mandated, and even as young as I was, I was the only one with prior experience. I wound up setting up one agency’s first OT program in the state for that population and worked with children for the rest of my career.


  4. What wise and true words, Pam! The only thing we can be sure of in life is that nothing will remain unchanged. And, as your adorable Sophie now knows, that inevitability is what forces us to grow and change – and if we haven’t grown and changed, we haven’t really lived. Have a wonderful New Year!


  5. Maybe at 2am this morning, I will have one of those ah ha moments when I think of one of these times – and I’m sure there have been several – but, right now absolutely nothing comes to mind…… Hope you had the Merriest of Christmases!


    • I’m hoping you did not think of one at 2 a.m.! I think you’re such a flexible, positive woman, you just ‘go with the flow’ during changes, and follow the mantra, “don’t worry, be happy.” 🙂


  6. Pam, I loved this blog!  How true, how true. Last night I watched the movie, “The family man”  a great Christmas movie that deals with the same dilemma…Love you, keep writing!!!


    • I happen to love The Family Man movie. Nicolas Cage is perfect in the role, and yes, the theme is interestingly similar to the one in this post – what REALLY makes us happy? Sometimes only an unwanted change gives us the surprise answer. Thank you, thank you for enjoying my writing. You’re not only the best realtor in the world, you’re a terrific friend. xo


  7. I’m the type of person who starts to think “I’m not so happy about this” and immediately changes the situation. But there was one time I couldn’t. My son wanted to enter the military and I tried my hardest to talk him out of it. Then — he injured himself and his military dreams seemed lost. I’d never seen him so unhappy and faltering. It really opened my eyes. He worked hard and went through physical therapy and emerged stronger than ever. He’s been in the Air Force for 6 years now and I’m VERY happy about it.


    • Thanks for the goose bumps. That’s the other aspect of the ‘happiness quotient” – the way we think we know what should make others happy. I love the ‘happy’ ending to your son’s (and your) story. Blessings to your son and the Air Force!


  8. I’m struggling to find a good example form my own life off the top of my head, but this reminds me of a traditional Buddhist story about a man whose son falls off his horse and breaks a leg. Everyone commiserates with him and he says ‘Who knows. We shall see.’ The next day the army comes recruiting for war and the son is left behind because he’s not fit to fight…the story goes on with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ things happening which turn out to be nothing of the sort. Life’s never black and white. Here’s a link to one version http://www.rainbowbody.com/newarticles/farmerson.htm
    Have a great New Year.
    Hugs, Harula xxx


    • Thanks for comparing my post and the Buddhist story (and adding the link to this story/legend that I’ve read before and admire). That’s such a compliment, but I think you’re right – philosophically it’s the same idea. Happy New Year to you!


  9. Lao tzu’s advice is right, however difficult it is to do. I keep resisting the reality of Brandt ‘s death and indeed it causes great pain and sorrow. How hard it is to let go though perhaps it would be best to do so. But how does a mother let that go? That is my daily struggle.


    • “Let reality be reality…” he says, but it’s so hard, if we do not like the reality we’re faced with. I’d guess accepting and throwing ourselves into the ‘flow’ is one of most difficult challenges a person can face.


  10. Reminds me of when I was video taping my third child (infant) and he began to scream. I put down the camera and said, what happened. Big sister said, he’s just a brat. I stuck the tape in the VCR and watched what I’d filmed. I saw her little fingers come in view and pinch him. She was not always happy to have him, but they are sure close now.


    • Ahhh, sibling unhappiness often leads to the best friendships in the world, yes? I totally ignored my brother once I was a teenager. Now, even though we live thousands of miles away, we connect constantly – I revere him.


  11. I feel like most of the amazing changes in my life have come by accident. I hate change, I like routine and stability, but gosh-be-darned if many a positive thing hasn’t happened when the reins have been taken from me involuntarily. 🙂 Awesome post! 🙂


  12. Another good blog. (And I have been so behind in reading so many…) I was not so happy when we moved here to the UP. OK, I was happy at first, and then downright miserable. And then we moved away, and came back and I slowly learned to make peace with it. Leave it to a child to speak the truth. May we not be afraid to utter our truths. And may we not be afraid to change our truths, as well.


    • Thanks for catching up with me and my posts – I LOVE having you here. You actually gave me goose bumps right here. May we not be afraid to utter our truths (like a child). Ah, so right. As adults, we’re taught to squash our true feelings. But yes, we must also not be afraid to change our truth, if it needs to be changed. I’m glad you’re at peace with YOUR truths, right now.


  13. Oh, this was so lovely. A household of people, family, who enjoy honest responses and accept them, too. This is the way to have love shown, by allowing changes, crooks in the road and hurdles met, together. I loved this post, the sweet and innocent words, “I’m not so happy about this…” will be on my mind for quite some time. I have definitely not had a straight path, nor all happy moments! I have always felt blessed, though. Smiles, Robin


    • Thanks for sending me back here, Robin. I kinda cried a little when I re-read this post. I was SO PROUD of Sophie, to feel safe enough, and strong enough, to tell her true feelings. I think it helps if we express how we feel, because then we can go on from there, and make the unhappiness turn a corner into gratefulness.


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  15. Change happens whether we want it or not, that’s life. I’ve had lots of changes and normally they work to my good.
    Sophie and her little brother are both beautiful!! I smiled and my spirits lifted just looking at their sweet faces—thanks for sharing.


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