“Happiness is a choice”, “What’s more important than happiness?”, “I want my kids to be happy”…these and other such themes were floating quite a bit. Floating where, you ask? Well, floating in conversations, on blogs, on Facebook and even on some bucket-lists I came across. You know how word clouds can be created out of some text? The word ‘happiness’ started popping out a lot on my social word cloud, and prompted me to…be happy. Nah, who am I kidding? :-) It prompted me to write this post and throw in some of my own nuggets about this phenomenon –
Happiness is not the opposite of sadness. Just because you are not sad does not mean you will be happy or that you need to be. Life pulls out a lot of different situations from its hat and you have a chance to respond to them in many ways. You can be amused or calm or scared or depressed or a thousand other flavors. Why not? So with that, hopefully the pressure to be happy-happy is somewhat off. Phew! If you have however decided that happiness is a priority for you, and you are going to be investing your time and energy in it, then you might as well first ask the question ‘What does happiness mean for me?’. Hopefully you can find yourself a nice little definition, and if you are feeling bold enough, you can even renew the definition as times goes by. Once you work your way towards happiness though, it’s a pretty sweet deal if you can actually carry it off. You know, how if I am buying a pair of red, hot high heels, then I better know how to walk in them and look good in them? Just like that. So, are you able to rock happiness?
Finally, happiness comes in grades and shades, just like the high heels go from an inch-tall to something that would make those skilled stilt-walkers drop their jaw in awe. So you can choose to be mildly happy, sometimes happy, or happy-all-the way! Take your pick and cultivate it only that much. The logic is simple: why work so hard to be super happy if being mildly happy makes you happy? Or something like that. :-)
Now that I have talked much and am feeling adequately wise (and snooty), let me tell you how I feel about my happiness. Well, in short, I feel done with happiness. Never chased it, never will, just like I will probably never love those high heels. Of course even when plenty of medical studies and articles have published exactly how high heels are not good for the feet, they remain to be very appealing and an easy sell. And I get why. But for that same reason, I will gladly bury this thing called happiness, throw in some high heels while at it, cover them both with a small pile of sand and put a little flag that says “Here lies happiness …and a pair of high heels. They both were very red and hot.”.
While I am going on, I should mention that I do think there is a more tangible concept that I like. It’s called ‘well-being’. If someone asks me “Are you happy?”, I might respond with a blank stare and a vague “Umm, what now?”. But if someone asks me “Are you well?”, I can say “Yes, I am well, thank you. How about you?” and the conversation will proceed. On the flip side of it, let’s say I am with a bunch of people randomly selected for a chit-chat. Then by the statistics known to us, the prominent emotional state of at least one of us is likely ‘Depressed’. Should the stats be like that? That’s hardly the question. The question is – can I really look in the eyes of that person, say ‘Happiness is a choice’ and leave it at that? It’s hard, very hard.
So while the quest of happiness seems like a never-ending play, well-being is simply being well and letting happiness happen (if at all it decides to take a form and wander in my territory). I don’t know if there is a convincing rationale for seeking happiness other than it is a personal preference or that it’s a popular choice. Well-being requires no rationale. You might as well live well…you know, because you are alive. Depending on who you are, well-being can mean a lot of different things: eating well, staying fit, working hard on a project or a hobby you love, dabbling in something creative, growing something with your hands, spending time with people who care for you, asking for help and surviving the down-times, helping someone, teaching something to a kid and also learning from her, dreaming a little, crying a little, gossiping a little (or a lot!), worrying about something a little, sometimes thinking about the vastness that surrounds you, sometimes looking at the chaos that engulfs you, letting go of your fear if only for a few minutes, stepping out of your comfort zone even if only slightly, being aware of what you have even though you might not feel grateful all the time, smiling once in a while…and the list goes on.
So if you feel ready, go ahead and bury that happiness and put a little flag. The funny thing though is that when you do that, something out there stirs as if you have just given it a slap. The forces of universe then conspire and come knocking on your door as if to say “Hey, we heard you buried those high heels and that’s cool, but how about trying these ones for fun? It’s a gift from us, no strings attached!” If that happened to me, I would totally laugh and accept the gift. And while I am wearing those high heels, I would also put on a perfect red dress, and oh, some lipstick and mascara! Looking good! Then of course, I would find myself a nice, open dance floor and try a few simple steps of cha cha. Two-three-cha-cha-cha! Looking goooood! Now at this point, it doesn’t matter a whole lot if I keep the high heels on or throw them away…because guess what, the party is on! And we are going to dance away like there is no tomorrow — Two-three-cha-cha-cha!