Creating a new outlook

I’ve been at my new living quarters just over two months, and I’m still struggling to adjust, meet people, and learn to be happy in these new surroundings.

At a recent writing group, we wrote to a quote from the novel, Anna Karenina, about happiness:

Happy families are all alike. An unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

I decided to expand on that a bit. Here’s what I wrote:

With due respect to Anna Karenina, I think unhappy people are unhappy in their own way as well. Except that we create our own unhappiness. We cannot blame others for how we feel. “Only if we accept what is, can we be happy” – according to the est training book of aphorisms.

So I get up every morning now thinking this day will be better, this day I’ll feel happy, and for sure by the end of the day, I’m disappointed. It was a day like all the rest. Lonesome, uninteresting, unexciting. Maybe it’s because the place where I now live has shut all group activities down. People can’t eat together, have group meetings together, see movies in its theater together. And since I’m fairly new here, I don’t know where to find the private activities that some people engage in.

I have reached out a bit. I went to their book club meeting on Zoom, I had a glass of wine and conversation with another resident in her apartment, I’ve had outside guests here, and I’ve become a walking freak. I take a big long walk outside every morning, and then to break up the day I do short walks – two hundred and fifty steps as Fitbit suggests – either inside my apartment or down the long halls every hour. That’s good for me, right? That I can still accomplish so much walking makes me happy.

Unlike me, so many people living here are not in very good shape. Some have to use walkers to get around, some are pushed in wheelchairs, some must lean on their full-time private caregivers. It’s unhappy-making seeing so many people with those kinds of problems.

That’s the thing about my unhappiness. I’ve created it on my own, and I know I can uncreate it. I can keep participating with others plus do my writing work and reading and walking – my three major daily activities – and come out of this happier and healthier. Then I’ll be like many others who say making the decision to live here was the best decision they ever made. I look forward to saying that myself.

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