By Caitlin Kelly
I’ve spent much of my adult life striving, mostly professionally, often socially. I left my native Canada, and a thriving career and dear friends, to follow a man I married, (who walked out after two years of marriage). I’ve survived three recessions since 1989 and four orthopedic surgeries since 2000.
Would I ever have a calmer, steadier life?
Recently, I’ve felt…happy.
Dare I even write those words? I feel like I’m tempting fate.
But things have been lovely of late.
I know one reason — the endless crisis/problem-solving/emotional dramas/fear and pain of the past few years are gone. My left hip, which caused me 2.5 years of 24/7 pain, was replaced 18 months ago. My mother, whose crises seemed endless, is now in a nursing home. Work, finally, seems to be much more solid than the terrifying, scraping pennies-from-the-sofa-cushions dips of 2008-9.
Here are some of the things that make me happy:
— Our town’s reservoir, whose landmarks are a cormorant who stands very still and spreads his wings in the sunshine, white swans, duck bums in the air, Queen Ann’s lace and orange lilies by the roadside. Best of all — turtles! There are about a dozen of them, all black and round, who line up along some rubber tubing at the water’s edge.
— The flowers on our balcony, orange and purple and white and yellow, adding beauty to every day.
— My husband’s kisses.
— My dance classes, jazz and modern. It’s such a delicious relief to leave words and speech behind, to sway and bend and spin and twist with others. To stretch, still touching my palms flat to the floor. I love using a corporeal vocabulary I’ve known for decades: chassees, plies, tendues, battements, ronds de jambes.
— A surprise check at the exact moment I need it.
— An unexpected assignment, two of which showed up this week.
— A full refund, many years later, for a spendy skirt I bought at Nordstrom.
— The pool at our apartment building. On these 95+ degree days, it is such a blessing to plunge in and cool off.
— Freshly-baked banana bread, hot from the oven, that I made.
— A full pot of tea, poured from a white china teapot.
— A big bunch of white flowers.
— Fresh corn.
— Our new tent, which I can put up, alone, within minutes.
— Outdoors antiques fairs and flea markets, where I always find something fantastic — an Edwardian necklace, a Moroccan lantern or some vintage crochet edging.
Mother of pearl, metal, glass beads and ebony, $55. Score!
— Throwing a party. Tomorrow we’re having about two dozen friends over to celebrate Malled’s publication in China.
— Making new friends.
— Discovering the most unlikely connections with a new friend, like the woman my age with whom I went for lunch to talk about work. She had been a professional ballerina, and danced in productions with Nureyev. I had performed at Lincoln Center in Sleeping Beauty with him in the lead. The odds?!
— An hour+ long phone chat with a friend who’s known me for decades.
— Helping younger journalists who ask me for advice.
— Having our suburban NY street thick with bushes full of ripe raspberries.
How about you?
What makes you happy these days?