I found a fancy word this week. And can I just tell you, I’m excited to learn something new when I’m surrounded by kid-talk (like my daughter discussing the merits of boogers or the little one asking me for the seventh time that day if I had a shower – she likes the feel of my wet hair.) And so I give you…
Eudaimonia: a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous.
Happiness isn’t something that just is for most people. It’s something to be decided on and maybe even fought for. I’ve fought my brain and decided to be happy. To me, happiness is cozy like a favourite blanket. But I can’t wear my favourite blanket all the time. It seems to slip off my shoulders as I chase my girls around a supermarket, as I trail behind a car whose driver obliviously straddles the dotted lines, or as I wake up for the sixth time in the early hours to feed my almost two year old and my teeth are clenched so tight I think my jaw might crack and I just can’t take IT anymore! I’ll have to continue to cozy up to happy.
Luck seems to be a big factor in being healthy when it comes to major diseases and complications. How can brain cancer strike someone of the same age as me, but not me? How do thousands of women die in childbirth in Ethiopia, but not me? I’ve asked a friend who is a doctor here in Addis and also a father – if something were to happen, an accident for instance, which hospital would he go to? He clearly said he.didn’t.know. To me, that’s incredibly frightening. In Canada, you can call 911, be taken to a very reliable hospital and given the correct attention. It’s a comfort most Canadians are unaware exists, I’m sure. If something major were to happen here, it would be a scramble to reach friends to find out where the best/trusted/appropriate doctor is on a given day. And then maybe it’s a mediflight out of the country to Nairobi or Dubai or Bangkok. I’ll keep feeding my family kale chips and hiding pumpkin purees in nearly everything but mostly we’re lucky – our family is healthy.
By any measure, we are prosperous. We can afford good food each day, we can have hot showers, we have a house full of furniture and toys and gadgets, we have two cars, we have clothes and shoes, etc. My husband works extremely hard at two businesses for us to be able to afford all these things. And yet, I want something for myself. My own prosperity – my name on a bank account with money I’ve earned. Now that my girls are almost 2 and 4, it feels like this is the year for me. The fire is lit and I want to burn.
Eudaimonia – the contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous. It’s a lovely ideal. But what if there’s an eudaimonia-fail? What if on a given day I’ve got 2 out of 3? Or maybe 1 out of 3? Or what if I’m not even contented? Rather it’s just a perpetual ‘state’ I’m in. Well, from what I can tell, I just carry on. Cause that’s what we do. At least my vocabulary has improved.
(credit: image of blanket found on kepzes.me)