Sunday, October 4, 2009

Random thoughts on Happiness

Am I the only one who finds it odd that our Declaration of Independence guarantees, as one of our inalienable rights, the pursuit of happiness? What an odd concept to include in the founding and defining document of a new nation. It makes apparent that the pursuit of the ideal is timeless, and constant. This opens up the eternal question; what is happiness? We hear so much about it. It seems that society as a whole is in constant search of it; singing songs, writing poems and dedicating odes to the search thereof. And yet it seems that there are an almost infinite number of people who never achieve that enviable and ephemeral state of 'happiness'. I think I have this 'happiness' thing figured out. Do not take that statement as one of arrogance, or as evidence of some kind of over enlightened state. I'm just an average Jane who is living a fairly average life, but is doing it quite happily. Don't mistake me for one of the charmed ones-we all know at least one. The 'charmed ones', as I call them, have never faced any difficulty, or controversy. They've never lost a loved one, or been rejected by a friend. Everything seems to fall from the sky directly into their laps. They live in a perpetual state of ease, and seem to be floating along in a perpetual state of ecstasy, and who wouldn't living that kind of life? I wish them no ill, and genuinely hope their lives continue on in just that vein, but no, that certainly isn't me. I've lived through intense degrees of heartache, heartbreak, disappointment and rejection. I've fallen as many times as I've risen, and honestly, if I were to actually calculate my odds I'd say the falls would well outnumber the ascensions. And yet, I'm happy. I'm very very happy. It's all because I think I've figured out the truth; happiness is a choice. It isn't some esoteric idea that only the elite few can attain. It isn't a by-product of wealth, or health, or even wisdom. It's a simple choice, that I simply make every day. Every morning, when the sun rises (or when I decide to get up) I can make the decision whether today will be a day filled with happiness, or discontent. Will I relish the very fact that I am alive, and able to breathe and walk and hold my husbands hand to be enough? Or will I choose to fill my day with unrequited longing for the things I don't have, the money I haven't made, the career I didn't choose? What good does that do? I have found that if I choose happiness each day I am far more likely to be mentally prepared and able to pursue those things which as yet are out of my grasp.
For years I have watched friends and relatives wallow in the pains of 'yesterday'. Yesterday is truly and completely gone, and all it offers me is the chance to learn and grow from what it taught. In the very best of circumstances 'yesterday' is a tool to use to improve today, and in the worst of circumstance, it is something to be left where it is. Yesterday cannot hurt you; only you can use yesterday as a tool for self inflicted pain. Instead, I begin each day with a sense of new beginning, and hope. Now again, please do not misunderstand, I do have bad days. There are days when I just get up on the absolute wrong side of the bed, my hormones are out of control, or my precious hubby has just left one too many pairs of socks on the floor. There are days when my loved ones are ill, my heart is broken, or my feelings wounded. I may have bad days, but as long as I am able to make the choice I won't chose to be unhappy.
Don't take my random thoughts on happiness to be some preachy-holier-than-thou tripe. I'm merely sharing with you my secret to happiness, in the hopes that it might help find your own. I'm happy, and as a result, I find that I am now more content and fulfilled than I've ever been before. So, in the end, 'happiness' itself may not be an inalienable right, but the right to choose it is; and that is a truth I hold to be self evident!

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