Happy People

I’m struggling with something today, so hold on. This could be a rambling mess of a post. I am having difficulty understanding something that is most likely obvious to most other humans. Ready? I don’t get happiness. I simply do not understand it. I can read a dictionary definition and know that it means “a state of well-being and contentment,” and I get that at an intellectual level but at an emotional level, I’m lost. What is this thing called happiness anyway? What does it feel like? Is it even real? Sometimes I think happy people are simply an image Hollywood producers have made us believe: smiling people sunning at the beach, a couple clinking glasses as the sun sets behind them, children laughing. Even the dogs have smiles on their faces. This is not reality.

But it can’t just be in the movies. Real people feel joy. Real people are happy, aren’t they? I ask around. “What does it feel like to be happy?” Or “what is it like to be you?” The answer is always the same: “I don’t know. It’s just the way I’ve always been.” I hate this answer. I want the secret. I want the code to the cabinet that holds all of the government secrets on how to become happy. But apparently those secrets are classified and my clearance level isn’t high enough. Experimenting on the happy people may have been what they were doing at Area 51. You never know.

But I know there are happy people. I live with one, so they are not as elusive as I might have been led to believe. But none of them, it seems, can explain to me how they got that way. How they can maintain a sense of happy even in the midst of sadness, uncertainty, sad commercials featuring starving kittens, inevitable death, and taxes. I’m sorry, but I cannot conceive of being happy while there are sad kittens in this world. Obviously, I have a lot to learn from these happy people.

Here’s my deep thought for the day: maybe happiness should not be the destination. Perhaps all one can do is run toward contentment. Whenever we see even a shadow of happiness, or joy, or even simple contentment in the corner of our eyes, we should grab onto her collar and drag her, as she’s smiling and laughing, into the light of our existence. Maybe if we just keep doing that, over and over, she will stay with us. But I don’t think that’s going to happen to me for a while. Nope…it just doesn’t seem like a possibility. Maybe I need to get myself to Area 51.



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