Are you happy?
An old friend used to ask me that, and it’s easily one of the hardest questions to answer.
I come to regard happiness as an ideal state of being. If I have to describe it, happiness is the warm, bubbly feeling we feel when something good happens. Often, it is synonymous to the realization of the desires of our hearts. But that can be tricky.
I remember Vronsky in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.
His desire brought him no more than a grain of sand out of the mountain of bliss he had expected. It showed him the eternal error men make in imagining that happiness consists in the realization of their desires.
It made so much sense. I always thought that once I could get my hands on something that I really want, I will be able to live in perpetual bliss. I’m a dreamer and a very naive one at that. I have this constant urge to chase rainbows and butterflies.
But I believe I grew up a little. Happiness now is finding pleasure in the simple things. Seeing strangers doing good deeds. A text message from friends. A phone call from home. A good book to read. A victory from my favorite football team. A cup of coffee in the morning.
Watching these babies on Sundays:
Ah. The list is endless. These little things add up and make up my days. But is it real happiness?
I’m prone to delusions. As an idealist, I can be easily disappointed with reality. I have bouts of depressing episodes. Nothing serious. They are always kept at a manageable level. But it can be irritating. I hate the range of emotions and having to deal with the highs and the lows.
The problem with being happy – “the dancing on air” kind of happy – is that sooner or later, you will fall from that high place and land on your butt. It’s not a very nice experience. I used to crave that feeling. But I learned.
I don’t need to be happy all the time. Sometimes, it’s wonderful to feel a little sad and lonely and angry. There are times when I feel empty and bored and restless. I even feel moments of insanity. But more often than not, I am relatively calm. My heart and mind are not in a constant battle of dominion. That’s my favorite state. And when something comes up to break that bland existence, I welcome it.
I learned not to let my mood depend on trivial and tangible things. So the sky is dull and gray instead of forget-me-not blue? Bring it on.
I, not events, have the power to make me unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it. -Garucho Marx
I make it a point to find little joys in this long walk through life. And if sometimes, the ambiguity is too much and I struggle to make sense of it all, well that’s part of existence.
I can’t be greedy and demand bright days all the time. After all, they say we can’t have rainbows without a little rain.