The Tiredness of Happy


GenCon 2015 is over and I am now home, preparing to re-enter life as normal.

But last night! Oh, last night! I was “on” last night and determined to have as much fun as possible. I was bubbly, chatty, laughing, dancing, and just general energetic, especially after playing a fairly serious and controlled character in Werewolf for several hours. 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.”

“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 last night, watching a friend pelt around the LARP 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”, 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, and love 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 ultimately satisfied. I had several goals for myself this 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. Today, my legs ache, but I walked over nine or ten miles over the past two and a half days and saw lots of friends and interesting strangers, which is awesome! This morning, I still had a slight headache from the music last night, but I got to do the cha-cha slide with some awesome folks, and getting up early meant that I got to spend some nice pre-departure time with others. My muscles ache 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. It will always be worth going to bed tired.

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