Gaming/comic convention season 2015 is over for me, and I am home with life back to its everyday normal.
But that last night of GenCon Indy! Oh, that last night! I was “on” and determined to have as much fun as possible. I was bubbly, chatty, laughing, dancing, and just generally energetic, determined to enjoy my mine and my husband's weekend vacation together. When we got back to our hotel in the wee hours of the morning, I found myself heaving a heavy sigh (not sad, just heavy) as we climbed into bed, saying to my husband, “No wonder I was always so tired after game.”
He nodded. “It takes a lot of energy to be ‘on’ for a long period of time.”
I responded: “Yeah. Being happy makes you tired.”
What I mean by this is: allowing yourself to be happy and energetic can really take it out of you. We, as human beings, are often trained to temper our energy, our happiness, and our joy. We are taught, and we tell others, to “calm down”, “rein it in”, etc. So much so that, when we do allow ourselves to expend that happy energy, we can sometimes be a bit out of practice and quite winded afterward. As I think about that night, I recall watching a friend pelt around the LARP (live action roleplay) room after a tennis ball that was the absolute center of his character’s happiness, only to comment, “I need to sit down, I’m tired”. That affirmed it and I really do think it’s true. It takes energy to be happy because, I believe, when we expend the energy to be happy, we are not only spending that energy ourselves. We are giving and gifting that energy to other people. We are sharing our smiles, our laughter, our happiness, our energy with them.
I have been approaching happiness lately as something that is a choice rather than merely a feeling. I can choose to be content with my lot in life while still keeping my dreams. I can choose to let the small things roll off and not make anthills into mountains. I can choose to find the beauty in the ordinary. I can choose to share as much encouragement and edification with the world as I possibly can. I am choosing to share as much positivity, light, love, and happiness with the world as I possibly can.
But, yes, the active expulsion of the energy that it takes to be happy can leave us tired but, I believe, ultimately satisfied. I had several goals for myself that weekend, the main of which was to allow myself to be happy, bold, and have fun. I am glad to say that I accomplished that goal, and I hope that I gave some of that energy to other people. I pulled people along in my happy (and was pulled along in my turn) to dance, laugh, and be silly. The following day, my legs ached, but I walked over nine or ten miles over the two and a half days we attended the convention and saw lots of friends and interesting strangers! That final morning, I still had a slight headache from the music at the dance, but I got to do the cha-cha slide with some awesome folks and friends, and still getting up early meant that I got to spend some nice pre-departure time with others. My muscles ached from laughing and running and dancing, but I was able to share those full belly laughs, those joyous runs down the hall, and dancing just because it felt good to move. And that was definitely worth going to bed tired.
As life continues back here at home, I continue to observe this "tiredness of happy". I observe it in my toddler daughter as she collapses, out of breath and laughing, from one of her favorite games. I observe it in my husband as he comes home from his job, where he has chosen to be upbeat and optimistic, for himself and others, all the day long. I see it in my father-in-law as he dozes off on our couch, my daughter cradled on his lap, those two just worn out from making each other so, so happy. I observe it in myself after a long day of caring for my girl and doing my best for the others in my life, both near and far. I feel it in the tiredness in my body but the smile in my heart as I climb into bed at the end of the day. Choosing to be and sharing my happy will always be worth going to bed tired.