I’m still figuring out how to use WordPress and it’s awesome features. Like, tagging. It’s like hashtagging, but for people who are just not cool enough. So you list the key words along the side panel like a good little child.
Yesterday, I also discovered that you could see the most highly searched-for tag.
And there it was: Happy.
How cool is that?
We’re all looking for happy. We’re trying to find it, keep it, create it, spread it, share it and reinstate it.
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
In books and movies, it’s all so clear to us. If only the heroine would pick the life that makes her happy. If only the hero could see the woman who truly makes him happy.
Isn’t it obvious? In the mad rush to get to work, pick up after the kids and catch up with friends, we see ourselves as extras who provide comic relief or a side story to someone else’s life.
We need to be the protagonist. The one who turns heads. The one for whom all the stars align. The one who gets the guy or the girl or the job or the throne or freedom.
Make today the day that you, the hero/heroine, have that “A-ha!” moment and go for life. Catch that flight, call that person, quit your job, get that other job (because bills), sign up, sign out, let go, give it a go, start thinking about it, stop thinking about it.
Back in the day, I was one of those annoying optimist with an I-just-found-God smile plastered across my face. What was there to be unhappy about?
Loving crazy family, check.
Coolest friends ever, check.
Good food, check.
Safe home, check.
Healthy body, check.
Active mind, check.
Sometimes, out of nowhere, none of this is good enough. Not loving enough, not friendly enough, not healthy enough. And that’s ok. Contrary to what I thought when I was younger, you can’t just snap out of it. It takes time and thought, and that’s what makes your joy last longer.
When it’s not good enough, re-check your list and find happy.
I’m guilty of internally fighting happiness.
It’s not the same, we say. Same as what? When we were young, carefree and sans responsibilities?
School days would come with asking for permission to step out of the house, asking for pocket money, having a curfew, explaining ourselves, and exams.
Pre-baby years would mean, firstly, no cuddles and kisses from the little person you created. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the way looks pretty empty. As much as I loved my life before my son, I don’t feel like erasing him just right now. Let’s chat when he’s giving me a migraine. Besides, back then we wanted to go back to being children and being loved unconditionally.
Nothing is ever going to be perfect forever, and that’s just perfect. Learn to love the low lows as you do the high highs. Happiness may come under the guise of a lacklustre old relationship or a predictable lifestyle.
We’re so consumed by this globe-trotting, sky-diving image of Carpe Diem, that we think anything less means we’re not nearly as happy as we should be. I enjoy travelling and seeing new places, but it’s not my calling like it is for many others. And that doesn’t make me any less happy than they are.
Yet, no matter how level-headed some of us claim to be, there’s a pang of jealously when we see stupidly happy photos on Facebook. Of people living it up, travelling the world, having the perfect relationship and eating the best food across the world.
We tell ourselves that it’s just a photo and we don’t know anything about their troubles and worries. (I do hope the people in them are really stupidly happy.)
My loves, choices and dreams brought me to where I am right now, as yours did for you. I wouldn’t change any of them, which makes this life pretty damn special.
There are a lot of people who lose sight of their loves or are given no choice or have their dreams shattered by war, illness, disasters and cruelty. I’m not saying count your blessings. But make your blessings count.
If all we have today is rushing to work, crawling in traffic, picking up after the kids and paying bills, it’s where we really, really wanted to be. And it’s ok to change your mind, but while you think about it, try to enjoy the ride. Smile.
If you’re happy and you know it, dwell on it!