The most crucial questions of all are the ones we are most afraid to ask ourselves..
I’ve been pondering over what it means to be happy… and I know there are so many sayings about happiness, like ‘happiness is an inside job’, or ‘happiness is the journey and not the destination’ or.. and the most popular of them all, “Happiness is a choice“. It all sounds so enchanting, wouldn’t you say? rolling off the tongue like honey since the beginning of philosophy. Every time you read something along those lines you are inclined to either feeling like you could take over the world because you completely agree and can relate or you are more of a ‘skeptic’ and you read the clichés with your eyes rolling all the way back.
To be honest, I want to be the former, the one who blindly believes the clichè, that everything is candy floss and unicorns, no offence to all the optimists, but I feel like we’re all allowed to question when in doubt. We ought to question what happiness really is to us, in a world where literature has so eloquently decided for us and society has so selfishly prescribed. I feel like we are ever evolving and therefore happiness cannot be a one-size-fits-all. We are constently faced with the decision to either keep up or become, and maybe that’s the real question… to stay the same or to evolve? even more so when life starts feeling like the pages aren’t yours to turn anymore. We often introspect and question the seemingly obvious things about ourselves because we are faced with changes or adversities, and that’s the perspective from which I ponder.
Surely, out of 7 billion people on this sometimes hell of a planet, someone can relate. I think the hardest thing is mostly trying to separate the now and the future. Day to day life can get unbearably draining that we become so submerged in our current situations and pain that we cannot reconcile ourselves with the honest fact that “This too shall pass” (There I go with ‘one-size-fits-all’ statements, sometimes I’m an optimist too), but it’s true, life can get overwhelming and as a result, our need to consult our state of happiness gets overshadowed. I saw a quote by William Nepe which read “Life is like snowboarding, You must get up everytime you fall. Once you stop falling, you then begin to enjoy it, if you stay down you will never see why people love it so much.” Profound, right? The anology here is that the reality of happiness is tied to our williness to find it. The idea that no matter how overwhelming life may get, the opportunity to pursue happiness and actually find it in the midst of everything else is at our command, we just have to get up and pursue.
I don’t believe it’s that simple though, happiness is tricky for me, mostly because I know what I want but I’m impatient and more anxious than sure. One minute I’m completely in tune with who I am and I’m content with my life and I’m aware of my happiness and the next minute it’s like I couldn’t be further from myself and happiness feels like a distant concept. Being aware of all of this has always been my ‘superpower‘ and sometimes maybe even one of my toxic traits because I’m able to retract and contract almost at the arrival of the thought without consideration for who might be affected and lately, it’s been exhausting!!! They say fall down 7 times get up 8, what if you’ve fallen more time then you can get up? what do they say about that? oh let me guess, they say “No matter how many times you fall down, fight the urge to stay down. Get up, again and again..” atleast that’s what Elizabeth Gilbert once said. See, the whole, “don’t stay down” thing is a theme to happiness, I think it’s because the falling is mandatory.
Surely, the pursuit of happiness is not just a dead end. So no matter how many times I keep falling short and feeling like I can’t quiet reach the ‘mark’, it’s not because I’ve arrived at a dead end. The truth is, this experience, this journey, this constant searching is an awakening and these are merely the dark pages of the story. Happiness is entirely attainable, but we have to realise that we are not immune to moments and periods in our lives that aren’t so happy. The sun will always set and the sun will always rise. This time in my life is just the sun setting on all the uncertainties so that it can rise again and emerge more beautifully and purposeful than before. Eventually, even the darkest nights will end and the sun will appear.
Ultimately, it all boils down to what you want vs what you need and your willingness to pursue it irrespective of the circumstances. It will not be the same for everyone, the journey is so intrinsically tied to our individuality that it can never be the same for everyone. So.. sure, it would make sense to say “Success is happiness” or “being rich is the ultimate measure of happiness” but unfortunately those statements, just like the clichés about happiness are not objective. There has been a time in my life where I felt I was successful and there has been a time when I had far more than I needed, but one thing was consistent, despite it all, I wanted to be certain that I was happy. I was and have always been in careful pursuit of happiness despite how much or how little I have. So I find myself here again.
I know that I am meant to be far more happier than I am now, as such I wonder if there’s more, more to life than where I am, more to life than where I have been, or more to life than where I thought I would be. Never be so quick to accept that where you are is the best you can be but always be grateful nonetheless because gratitude leads to contentment, because even though life may take you through the saddest most painful alleys, you will always come out so perfectly artistic that you end up looking exactly like what you are looking for… you will come out looking like happiness.
It’s important for me to find this in myself, because too often I’ve lost it trying to find it in people who neither possessed it nor sought it. My appreciation for solutitude and peace has always been misunderstood, mostly because I have an assumption that others need it as much as I do and I’ve unfortunately been mismatched with individuals who did not. So when you pursue happiness, pursue it with complete honesty to yourself. because when it comes to being happy, it is more important how you feel than how others feel.
and if that is what it means to pursue happiness then I am no longer afraid to ask this of myself.