Choose Happy

Week 82 – October 10, 2021 – Thanksgiving Weekend

On Friday, October 8th, my kid and I went out for dinner to end the week. She had the day off and I just love the idea of someone else making me dinner. I gave her a few options to choose from and she wanted to go somewhere “Asian.” It’s an interesting phenomenon that we are both experiencing. We really want Chinese food. Living in the Lower Mainland and having access to Asian food was so easy. In the north, we spend a lot of our time looking for Asian food possibilities. Frozen or fresh. We found a Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants in town that we are happy with. We also found a local “Chinese Restaurant” (finally… yay) and that’s where we went.

My kid is pescatarian, which makes find Asian food and Asian places to eat challenging. My kid has a dish, chow mein Cantonese style, that she really likes and this one comes with seafood. It is definitely a win and it’s close to where we live. Of course with all Canadian-Chinese food restaurants, we end our meal with a fortune cookie. My kid chose the cookie that read “good health and long life,” which is something I always hope for. I actually thought she chose the wrong fortune cookie. Then I opened mine and it said, “No one is happy who  does not think himself so.”  Damn. I had no idea what it meant. I read it a few times and my kid went to Google.

She found this link: From the blog, it restates the statement as a question: “From whom do you need permission in order to feel good about yourself?” And yes, the blog post answers the question by saying: “If you don’t give yourself that permission, no one else, and nothing else, can possibly hope to be able to do it for you.” Well, that consumed my Saturday, October 9th (aka. one week after my birthday) wrestling with this idea: CHOOSE HAPPY. How do I give myself permission to be happy? Hmm… so profound, yet so aligned to the journey that I’m on. What does it mean to be happy? What makes me happy? Apparently, the yummy Chinese food dinner is not enough.

Last night, I went over to my friend’s place for Thanksgiving dinner. She went above and beyond and exceeded my expectations 10-fold. I was expecting mashed potatoes, salmon, and a veggie. She made salmon for my kid, her friend made ham, and she made turkey with all the fixings… and pumpkin pie. Honestly, I would have been completely satisfied with instant ramen and good company. The food was phenomenal and I am grateful to be part of this Thanksgiving experience. Today, I am making vegetarian chilli. That’s it. Canned beans, veggies, and chilli power in a crockpot and that it. Wait for 4-hours and voila. Dinner. Nothing fancy. It’s just food.

Today, October 10th, I am left thinking and reflecting. Last night, I realized at dinner that the three of us (kid excluded) had a lot in common. We were all educators. We are living independently in apartments. And, we left our partners because they were not faithful. Ironically, the men kept the houses and the women got independence. What the BLEEP. I left teaching because of misogynistic behaviours and now leaving my marriage. I am left to wonder about the misogynistic, male-dominant world I live in. It’s sick and I struggle with CHOOSE HAPPY. I want to give myself the permission to be happy, but I don’t want to give up my power, money, or sense of self in doing so. Giving up my house, my place, and my career to have peace of mind seemed like the only way out. What did I really give up and what have I gained? I am left to wonder.

It is World Mental Health Day and Thanksgiving weekend. What an interesting time to reflect and consider what makes me happy. What I am realizing is, this series of PANDEMIC REFLECTIONS is not ending at Week 82. What started off with professional reflections, much have led to some personal ones. That said, all of my reflections are interrelated and what I believe is, reflection is important and the writing process provides me with a way to think things through. I choose to make my thoughts transparent because I have nothing to hide, but with hopes of helping someone else who reads my blog. I am definitely engaged in investigating my identity and understanding myself in a deeper and more meaningful way. I love that I am living with my kid. I love to teach. And, I love all those who stand beside me to lift me up.

Much gratitude. #pandemicreflections #thanksgiving