Happiness: part two

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So, what the hell is “happiness” anyway?

I was raised with the idea that people could live “happily ever after” and were guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the “pursuit of happiness.” People were classified as “happy” or “unhappy” in a way that made it seem “happy” was the normal, right way to be and being “unhappy” meant something was wrong with you. In counseling I was asked if I was “happy at home”, “happy at work”, “happy with myself” and, generally, a “happy person.” I have even, at times thought of myself as a happy” person or that I “used to be a happy person” before I became jaded with age and experience.

I spent much of my life trying to become, or waiting to become, happy. I have many memories of moments at which I felt happy:

Coming out. My first boy on boy kiss. Having Sex. Getting promotions. Reading comics. Drawing. Meeting people. Going to parties. Giving and getting great gifts. My (multiple) weddings. Vacations. Performing on stage. Losing weight. Drinking Cosmos.

And I know that there are things I can and will do that will make me feel happy again. But I have come to  believe that happiness is not a permanent state of mind and being that I can, or ever will, reach. No matter how much I achieve, how much I have,  or how successful I am at accomplishing all the things I want to in life, I do not believe there will come a point where I will just be happy until the day I die.

Instead, I believe I have moments of happiness and experience things that make me feel happy and I want to feel that happiness as often as possible. I have learned what makes me happy and the things I need to do to feel that way.  But, I also know that what makes me happy differs from day to day, situation to situation and can change over time. Things that made me happy as a child don’t necessarily make me feel happy as an adult. Something that makes me happy  today may not have the same effect tomorrow. It changes and evolves and comes and goes with time and with my own personal growth and journey.

So, am I happy person? I don’t know if I can honestly answer “yes.” Am I a person who can feel happiness? Sure. Am I a person who can make myself feel happy? Absolutely. Am I happy with my life? Some of it, sometimes. More accurately, I would say that I am generally content with my life and what I have achieved and I appreciate all that I have and have gotten to do. And I think, more often than not, I make choices that make me happy. And that’s good enough for me.

Or, as the Peanuts gang would say:

HAPPINESS IS

FINDING A PENCIL.
PIZZA WITH SAUSAGE
TELLING THE TIME.

HAPPINESS IS

LEARNING TO WHISTLE.
TYING YOUR SHOE FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME.

HAPPINESS IS PLAYING THE DRUM IN YOUR OWN SCHOOL BAND.
AND HAPPINESS IS WALKING HAND IN HAND.

HAPPINESS IS

TWO KINDS OF ICE CREAM.
KNOWING A SECRET.
CLIMBING A TREE.

HAPPINESS IS

FIVE DIFFERENT CRAYONS.
CATCHING A FIREFLY.
SETTING HIM FREE.

HAPPINESS IS BEING ALONE EVERY NOW AND THEN.
AND HAPPINESS IS COMING HOME AGAIN.

HAPPINESS IS MORNING AND EVENING,
DAY TIME AND NIGHT TIME TOO.
FOR HAPPINESS IS ANYONE AND ANYTHING AT ALL
THAT’S LOVED BY YOU.

HAPPINESS IS

HAVING A SISTER.
SHARING A SANDWICH.
GETTING ALONG.

HAPPINESS IS SINGING TOGETHER WHEN DAY IS THROUGH,
AND HAPPINESS IS THOSE WHO SING WITH YOU.

HAPPINESS IS MORNING AND EVENING,
DAYTIME AND NIGHTTIME TOO.

FOR HAPPINESS IS ANYONE AND ANYTHING AT ALL
THAT’S LOVED BY YOU.

8 thoughts on “Happiness: part two”

  1. i like to think of happiness as a marketing term. i prefer “joy”. joy is an emotion that i feel from time to time just like i feel sadness, anger, etc. i would not want to be “happy” all the time. there is a great song sung by jane oliver (that tells you i’m gay, doesn’t it?) called “beautiful sadness”, and i love it because it describes that wonderful melancholy where we feel we are in a mist of reflection. http://youtu.be/FdJeoTsUGWA also, for me, the greatest but most overlooked distinction on the constitution is that we are entitled to the “pursuit” of happiness–not happiness itself. your peanuts gang poem describes, to me, the pursuit, and that is why the moments described sound joyful.

  2. Well said,
    Think of how boring it would be to be happy all the time..what would you have to compare it to. Most of our lives we spend in the INBETWEEN I like to call it…Not happy Not sad ..Existing…What I have found really makes me happy is having the balls to stand up for my rights, Stand up for a friend and being the kind of person that I would like to meet.

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