I met my husband while on a girls trip to San Francisco alongside two of my best girlfriends. At the time, the three of us all lived in Chicago and two things topped our list of prerequisites: warm weather and good wine, making SF and wine country the perfect destination. After a dizzying and life-altering encounter, my now-husband and I became inseparable and our love grew almost immediately. After about eight months of dating long-distance which included routine trips back and forth to visit one another, the time came to make the move. While short on resources but so full of love, together we combined our paltry eclectic assortment of belongings, along with our newly acquired pup. What we lacked in size, we made up for by being starry-eyed in love in our shoe-box, albeit, charming and quaint Victorian apartment. And as meager as things were and as tight as our budget was, we would forever dream of one day, owning our own home in the Bay Area.

Fast forward nine years, 2 kids, and several jobs later, we’re finally living out our ultimate goal of homeownership, and yet I can’t help but feel like the bubble will presumably burst at any minute. Around any corner now, the inescapable harsh realities of life will come crashing down and expose the realism that so often unfolds. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider myself a pessimist, but rather more a realist with the expectation that both good and bad things occur all the time. Rainbows form and so do rain clouds. Butterflies flutter and bees sting. But why is it that I’m always waiting for the ubiquitous other shoe to fall?

Maybe my thoughts of impending doom like that of a seedy character lurking around a dark corner, is a way of lightly peppering the good in a tactic of self-preservation. This innate mindset might be a way to decrease the likelihood of feeling bamboozled when things go south. It must be engrained in me from somewhere, although its distinct coordinates and precise whereabouts are still unclear. Perhaps it points to the alphabet soup of ill after-effects of being a child of a divorced family, or as a result of the unfortunate, and yet all- too common reality of being a woman in a male-dominated world. What I do know, however, is that the inability to fully live in the moment and enjoy the truly happy times in life, doesn’t seem to be relegated to just myself. The notion that once you’ve met your current quota of happiness and things start to feel too good to be true, there you are again, at that dark intersection you know all-too well.

I’m sure this is one of the many limitless reasonings for why therapists are part and parcel to our somewhat functioning society and why they’ll forever find abundant job security. Life seems to throw us a lot of curve balls when we’re least expecting them, and so perhaps instinctively, my thoughts of upcoming ominous circumstances are my way of creating a buffer to lessen the impact. Either way, life is good—for now, anyway. And in this current moment, I’m housing happiness.