Reading about J. K. Rowling’s new book The Casual Vacancy put me in the mood to re-read—for probably the eighth time—Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Oh, how I love to re-read.

I enjoyed re-reading it tremendously, and I was particularly struck by a passage that I’d never noticed before.

When, after much pride and prejudice, Darcy and Elizabeth agree to be married, Austen writes of the two characters:

“Darcy was not of a disposition in which happiness overflows in mirth; and Elizabeth, agitated and confused, rather knew that she was happy, than felt herself to be so.”

One of my Secrets of Adulthood is: Happiness doesn’t always make me feel happy. Sometimes, I know that I’m happy, but I wouldn’t exactly say that I feel happy.

For instance, many people say that the happiest moments of their lives were when their children were born. I exerienced intense emotion when my daughters were born, but I wouldn’t describe it exactly as happy. And yet, I was happy.

Have you had this experience?

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