wanting happy

When I first moved to Texas I met a fellow New Yorker—we’ll call her Lindsay—who couldn’t stop kvetching (dead-on-balls-accurate diction) about all Texas wasn’t. Her body was in Austin, but her mind, and mouth, was still in New Yawk.

“Yeah, but you’re here,” I said. For me, that said it all. Lindsay was acting as if she were stricken with grief, coping with the death of a loved one, and she somehow wanted to prove how much her beloved meant to her by showing, as often as possible, just how miserable she was without him. Because for Lindsay, and for a lot of us, that was proof of love. 

“You know,” I said, “just because you don’t cry at a funeral doesn’t mean you didn’t love the deceased.”
“It doesn’t make you unfaithful to New York if you get a happy ending out of Austin.” Yes, I love the double entendre.
“Forget it.”

Lindsay didn’t want to understand. I didn’t get to know her and never went out with her again, but she struck me as the type of friend who’d repeatedly ask for, then totally agree with, your advice but who couldn’t ever follow through. “You’re right. You’re right. I know you’re right.” She didn’t want to be happy.

A lot of us complain for a long time, but when it comes down to it, if we’re not really working to change it, we must not want it enough.



  1. If I was feeling as miserable as Lindsay, I would consider moving back to New York.. There’s a difference between wishing you had access to some things familiar from home and then missing EVERYTHING about home.. Why suffer and make others around you suffer if you can’t handle being away?

    How was the move? How is Miss Abigail doing? Are you in the new house? I hope you’ll share pictures with us once you’ve settled in :)

  2. I can’t stand people like that. They are exhausting, and I try to distance myself from them. They really do not want to be happy. They are happier complaining and not doing anything to change it, or just accepting it. Exhausting.

  3. AMEN, Stephanie! Very well put.

    A related premise is that people who are envious of something another person has, but don’t put forth the effort to figure out how to get it for themselves, must not want it enough either.

  4. I love your analogy. It’s so true. I read a book by Elizabeth Lyons that talked about self limiting perspectives – saying “I can’t” when you really mean “I don’t want to.” It really made me re-evaluate a lot of the things I was saying I couldn’t do. Plus, it’s just easier to complain sometimes!

  5. So profound. This posts reminds me a something your wrote awhile back, one of the truest things you’ve ever said…

    “Being sad, still, proves how much it meant. It’s almost a temper tantrum to prove your point. See? I still hurt! That’s how important the event was in my life. The sadness brings them closer, connected. It’s proof. Guess what, sht happens, and sometimes it really sucks, and we can miss and ache and feel sad, but at a certain point, what is the point?”

    Well done.

  6. I moved to Texas (unfortunately not Austin) from NYC within the past year. I haven’t complained a lot OUT LOUD about all that small-town Texas is NOT….but I sure have done so in my head. I truly miss my family, friends and all the things I love about NYC….but complaining (even if just to myself) about what Texas ISN’T…won’t help. I need to make more of an effort to explore the new and find things I like about Texas. Thank you for this post. It’s the girlfriend advice/straight talk I needed to hear.

    Hope your move went well.

  7. Wow. Your posts always make me take a look at my own life and question what I could do differently. Thank you for being so in tune with people.

  8. did you ever tell us about how you ended up making such a good community of friends in austin? was it mostly through the blog? any tips for bloggers with no audience or non-bloggers?

  9. I got so excited when I read this :) Then I read really, really fast. And then re-read it a few more times.

    This is perfect. If you don’t mind, I have to steal/borrow it.

    I live in South Florida, which, as you may know, is a huge melting pot of international people mixed in with a lot of transplants, mainly from up north. I am so sick and tired of people telling me how horrible South Florida is….how mean the people are, how horrible the traffic is, how nasty the weather can be, blah blah blah. It’s one thing to comment and laugh together about these kinda things. It’s another to whine and constantly wish you were somewhere else.

    I just want to tell them, “If you don’t like it, change it, and get the hell out! We won’t miss ya.”

    After 30 years, I accept it. And instead of bitching, I do my best to enjoy it.

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