I know there are seven stages of grief, but are there equivalent stages of happiness?
When I first moved to Oxford, it felt like golden bubbles rising in my chest; a happiness that swallowed everything when it exploded, and I could always feel it simmering.
Then an Autumn; partly being on some medication that made everything dark, but partly also everything settling – the knowledge that yes, I was here, and I hadn’t screwed it up immediately – so everything could grow, and settle; but I was also aware of how shallow my roots were, and how small my branches. I was growing, but not yet rooted.
I feel grey. Disassociated. Not caring, unable to process; I’m putting down roots, seeing just how far they are spreading, but the earth over them feels so shallow. It’s all going to be taken away again, and I’m just waiting for that to happen. Waiting for the hand to lift me out and tell me that I have to start again somewhere else; waiting for the earth around me to scorch. Waiting for another start and another set of memories to live with.
I feel resigned to loss, although I’m not sure anyone ever gets totally used to it; so many things have moved or changed or gone in the last few years that I think it’s all caught up, and I don’t have any expectation of longevity.
But then I don’t think anyone really can, either; everything always changes. So it also seems normal.
I hope there is a next stage of happiness – acceptance? The blending of sheer joy with the cut that says everything does end, and move on, and change. The sweet scent and bitter taste of a memory, because it will only happen once. The knowledge that this is only a life lived once, and we can only live the best one we can.