Happy happy happy

by Diane on 15/11/2011

Sorry, aber ich habe gerade keine Zeit mehr den Eintrag ins Deutsche zu übersetzen, ich muss ins Bett… :-) Werde die Übersetzung in den nächsten Tagen nachliefern.

Happy happy happy

Last Friday I turned 37. There’s nothing special about turning 37. It’s not a big exciting ‘zero’-birthday, and it’s certainly not an age that allows me to legally do something I couldn’t do before. But still it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had. Here’s why:

When Kai had to plan his last couple of trips to work onsite with his client in Southport/Australia before the end of the year, it was an easy decision to let him be away over my birthday and to go over for the weekend to celebrate in the sun instead. So for the first time in 19 years I didn’t get cake & candles, presents and a song at midnight. I wasn’t even awake at midnight. I went to bed early the night before my birthday, so I could wake up early and be a happy, non-sleep deprived person in the morning.

My flight to Brisbane didn’t leave before lunch time, so I decided to start the day with a breakfast with friends in town. I met Cathy, Helen, Teresa and Nick at Finc – which made it an absolutely perfect start into the day –  and when everybody went to work, I drove back home, grabbed my luggage and made my way to the airport. A couple of hours later Kai picked me up at the train station in Nerang, and my short but sweet holiday began.

We did all sorts of relaxing things while we were at the Gold Coast: walks along the beach in daylight, walks along the beach at night, shopping in Robina, coffee in Coolangatta, a trip to Aldi and we also rented a plane to fly up and down the coast. The time difference between Queensland and New Zealand is three hours. I didn’t want to get too used to the new time zone, and because it gets dark quite early in the evening over there, it was easy for me to go to sleep at 9 pm and get up again at 5 am. In case you didn’t know: 5 am is an awesome time to go for a walk in the park. The Nerang River was very close to our apartment, so I went out for a morning walk and to spend some time on the playground before most people even got out of bed.

‘Wait, playground?’ you might ask now. Yes, playground. There’s hardly anything in the world that I love more than being on the swings on a playground. I used to have a set of swings in our garden when I was a kid, and I still went out swinging everyday when I turned into a teenager. I could do that for hours and hours while listening to music and thinking about just anything I needed to think about. Sunshine, rain, snow. My swings were important, they gave me space to clear my head, to solve problems, to rehearse conversations I was planning to have with friends, or fights I was about to have with my parents. They made me happy. Then, one day, they were gone. My parents had decided that I was getting too old for swings and my dad had just disassembled them, they no longer existed. Anyway, I’m getting side tracked, sorry…

While I was swinging on the playground in Southport, with lorikeets flying over my head, I did what most people do on their birthday: I thought about my last year. I had a pretty good year, I must say. My 2010 birthday was the first day I was allowed to leave the house after my back surgery. And although I had to go through endless hours of rehab afterwards (and am still working on getting stronger), I have been pain free ever since. Well, apart from two or three little setbacks, but that’s a minor nuisance, and last time it happened was doing a weird sideways twist reaching for luggage on a holiday trip. I’m happy to ignore that one and pronounce myself healthy.

While swinging on the playground in Southport in the sun (yeah, it’s pretty sick that the sun is out at 5.30 am over there!) I was happy. Just happy. Warm, cosy, comfortably happy. I’ve been very happy for quite a while now, the longest period of uninterrupted happiness I can actively remember. I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, swung backwards and forwards, sang along with my favourite songs and every time I opened my eyes I saw people walking by, looking at me with big smiles on their faces. Who knew that seeing a chubby 37 year old randomly swinging on a playground could make people smile? Not even in an evil ‘look at this crazy bitch’ kind of way, but in a ‘how nice to see a happy person’ kind of way. Magical.

While swinging on the playground in Southport, with random people smiling at me, I once again realised how lucky I am. I live a great life, with the best husband in the world. I have the best friends ever (both in NZ and the ones I still have in Germany), I love my job, and I’m healthy again. Wellington is a great place to be, and if one day we don’t like it anymore, we’re free to go wherever else we want to.

While swinging on the playground in Southport, filled with happiness, I also realised that not everyone in the world has reasons to be happy. I wish they had.

On the way back to the apartment I came across a big sun and the wording ‘have a happy day’ on the footpath. I knew I would have a happy day. Many happy days. And I had to think of a toddler I know, who deeply impressed me when I saw him on a day he was extremely happy, just a few weeks ago. He threw his little arms up in the air, started running (not caring that his wobbly legs might let him down any second) and just shouted ‘Happyhappyhappy’. Sometimes I feel like I should do that too. It seems to be a very appropriate way to express happiness. I hope you’re happy too.

Iris November 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm

I’m crossing all my fingers and pressing both thumbs for you to stay happy like that forever! What a lovely post – it made me happy too!

Gabi November 16, 2011 at 12:06 am

Oh Diane; das ist sooo schön geschrieben, kriege echt feuchte Augen. Ich freue mich, dass Du so einen schönen Tag hattest (ich liebe schaukeln auch sehr; habe es in Mudau oft gemacht mit Ipod an den Ohren). Ich wünsche Dir, dass Du so glücklich bleibst. Hab Dich lieb Gabi

Cathy November 16, 2011 at 6:40 pm

I love your post…. Stay that way it suits you a lot :-) And it’s great to be part of the happiness xxx

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