Today, I am one year older.

It’s tradition for me to reflect on my life of the past year in the days leading up to it. What did I do right? What did I do wrong? Am I where I want to be? Am I happy?

That last question, made of three words, have always been something of an enigma. Who really is happy? I’ll tell you who. Happy people are happy. But am I one of them.

There was a time in my life when the answer was no. It was four years ago in my 30th year. I lived in a place I didn’t like, worked with people who didn’t like me, and I was trying to hard to cling to something I should have let go of a long time ago. I think about that time now, on my birthday, and those same questions pop up — what did I do right? Wrong?

What I did wrong was not listen to who I wanted and needed to be. I forced myself into a corner. Lived myself into it. I had help but ultimately it was my decision to live the way I did. I know that now.

And so here I am four years later asking those same questions. What did I do right? I left that situation. What did I do wrong? I let other people tell me who I was. Am I where I want to be? Not now but I’m working on it.

Am I happy? Am I happy? Well, am I?

On Saturday night my best friend and her boyfriend hosted a graduation/birthday party for me at their home. I was surround by a handful of happy, shiny people. We conversed. We drank. We enjoyed each other’s company.

In all my travels and in the cities I’ve lived in, that moment was the moment I wanted to have. To finally be at the point in my life where no club or bar or entertainment could out do the conversations and laughter of people who genuinely care for you. People live a lifetime and never enjoy that. I am lucky. Bless.

Am I happy? No. I’m happily content. The contentment come from the renewal of knowledge that I am not alone. And for now that’s enough.

Next year, and in the years following, I expect to answer that question differently.