Independence Day really is the holiday my wife and I love the most, second only to Christmas. The 4th is our day, you see; we got together because of fireworks: going to Indiana on June 19, then again on June 24, of 2012...and after that we were hopelessly in love.
Today we used our new pool, we lit fireworks, we grilled steaks, we ate them on the patio. We watched our neighbors across the street light fireworks, too. And after we were done lighting our fuses for the night, we toasted our relationship and the day and everything good about life with champagne by the pool.
Once again I was reminded of the most important part of being happy: being thankful for what you have.
And I mean in the sense of, "Holy shit, I've got all this!" Not, "Well, I work really hard, so I deserve it!" or even "What the hell, I'm worth it!" but the realization that, man, how in the hell did you manage to have it so good?
I think the biggest component of the happiness I experience in my life comes from the realization that--the same as God's forgiveness--we don't deserve anything, and that we damned well ought to be grateful for things like being born in America, in a technologically advanced time when we have air conditioning and a reliable food supply and all the other benefits of Western Civilization. Because the people living in America right now have the highest standard of living that has ever existed in the entire history of the world.
Croesus could not have air conditioning. George Hearst couldn't have a computer. People of my parents' generation had to fear polio. Pneumonia was often fatal prior to their teenage years, because antibiotics hadn't been invented yet; hell, sulfa wasn't even really well-known yet.
So, heck yeah, I'm grateful...and because I'm grateful, I can be happy, and I am.
...which is not to say my life is nothing but roses; like everyone, I have problems. But my gratitude for what I have--and my faith in God--allow me to be happy like I have never been before in my life.
Faith in God is a large part of it, too. It's a hard thing, to give up control of your life and hand it over to Him, but I certainly didn't manage things all that well on my own; and even though I still struggle with letting Him have it all, what I do manage to put in His hands allows me a modicum of tranquility I never managed before.
But, yeah: today was a very, very happy day, for both my wife and me. And that's enough.