while i dont agree with the 'happy' label i know what you mean.
i know a few who are 'peaceful' people. i know people who have survived all odds and are happy people. i know (and they are my favourite ones) who are 'honest' (for lack of a better word) and can be who they are at that moment. if they are under stress they are rude, without realising they are.
i would like to say i am a happy person too. i think people feel that way about me. i feel bejewelled i have kinda a similar history as you.
but first i recall this one moment in my life where my life was fantastic - and yet i was so .... uhm ... unsatisfied. i was happily married, i was making boku bucks while not working at my kinda job but i loved the people i worked with... i had friends... blah blah blah. but i was so dissatisfied inside. this was happiness? we were planning our family - but i truly wasnt 'happy'. all that 'safeness' felt very boring to me. i was also in school at that time (which i loved).
and then i became pregnant and i quit my position and started working part time. then my marriage floundered. and soon it was irrepairable. i was freaked out of my mind how could i take care of a toddler, work and have no help at all except from x. i had to turn into a WOHM which i hated with every fiber of my being. soon i couldnt even afford my one bedroom. mind u i was so happy being a mother. one thing i discovered - i got depressed if i was home too much alone (even if it was with dd).
then i did a couple of stints of work where i got paid pittance but it was so soul fulfilling and i started living with roommates and my life picked up. i was dirt poor and downsized soooo much.
you would think my inner life would be spiralling out of control, but the poorer i got (and i grew up rich, not just rich, but 'super rich') i discovered my own framily. life worked out and now i can say i am truly at peace. i have more 'satisfied, blissful' moments than i do 'depressed' ones.
however i feel two things have contributed to this. i have been dubbed 'eternally happy' person. that is something about my personality that i cant explain - that even in my lowest moment, i knew i would be ok.
the other thing i think made a huge difference was my upbringing. i grew up in a very loving 'not lacking in anything' family. i have been soooo close to homeless these days, but i have never been. stress over money has never been a factor. in fact when i had it yes it was. i was such a conservative. but now i have learnt to live with lack and becuase i have downsized so much i find i actually get to do what i want to do. hang out with dd, volunteer, work trade. i dont worry i dont have retirement. i dont worry dd doesnt have a college fund. all i know is that i have to do what i am doing now to support dd fully emotionally so that she is set up for life. i feel she doesnt need money from me. she needs my love and time and support while she struggles through life.
i feel like now i am truly living. all this while i wasnt. however that also could be a combination of crossing 40 and losing all fears and inhibitions. the only thing i am still scared about is singing solo in public. but apart from that i am so over all my other fears. plus i have the guts to live the way i want to live, to do things the way i want to.
however i also dont feel 'alone'. i enjoy my time with myself and i dont feel the lack of partner. for me a good trusted friend is more important than a partner. i dont hanker for a date. instead i enjoy hiking with my friends. i think too though i have become VERY fussy about dates and most of them dont meet up to my own level (not in a condescending way but just reality coz i dont enjoy the usual things in life, so in a sense i feel like a freak). what is interesting is since i was a little girl i always wanted to be a mommy, never really dreamt about being married or life with a husband.
so yeah i do feel happy. and i know others see that too because when my friends go through a tough time they always hang out with me.
so what i am saying is i dont feel a lack.