Obama and Happiness

obama-posterLast year, I remember my father talking about how he “knew” that Obama could never win the presidency. And here we are.

I practically jumped out of bed this morning. The day felt so much bigger than me because it is so much bigger than me, so much bigger than all of us. We so often live in our own heads, getting caught up in the minutiae of our daily existences–work, relationships, e-mail, a trip to the grocery store.  But today was a day when the entire country came together. It was incredible to watch so many millions of Americans cheering in the capital because, finally, we do have something–or someone– to believe in.

During the speech, there was a moment when I thought about bipolar disorder, or at least my struggle with the disorder:

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

That phrase, “full measure of happiness.”  For me, happiness is so clearly dependent on my brain chemistry, it’s hard to think of it as a “pursuit” in that traditional sense. In fact, right now, I’m probably too happy: drugged by my own brain chemistry. It’s strange when happiness is not contextual, but chemical. When you feel as if you’ve realized your “full measure of happiness” during a manic phase because you feel so light and airy and free. It’s strange, when, as I state in the tagline for this blog, you always feel like you are some version of yourself. Sometimes happy or pursuing happiness quite successfully. Other times, unable to get out of bed.  I want the (hypo)manic high I’m on right now to last forever and, less selfishly, for this Obama administration to bring our country a new, collective joy.

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