I am the architect of my own discontent.
That is the idea I had been reflecting on before I left for DC. The specifics aren't so important, just the idea that through my own choices and my occasional inability to foresee ultimate ends, I have created situations that have lessened my happiness. With a little more time, I see how the opposite is also true: I very much engineer my bliss. The times that I am able to see the small beautiful things that go on around me, the occasions where I place my interests first - there is sometimes seemingly endless joy.
And now I've found another corollary: I can't make someone else happy. More specifically, I can't lessen their discontent, as I was trying to do. I thought that it was a simple see-saw, and that if I gave more and sacrificed some of what thrills me, that they in turn would be happier and more at peace. But, it doesn't work like that. I gave it away, and it didn't benefit anyone.
Lesson learned - you can't always help someone else, even by foregoing what you want. I guess this is just another look at the idea that we all have to find our own way.