I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot recently. Of all the abstract nouns it seems to be the one we all find the most abstract.
Are you happy? Am I happy? Could I be happier? If only we were as happy as they seem to be? If only I had this or that or him or her then I could be happy. Why can’t I just be happy? What would make you happy? Really happy?
Endless questions. Pointless questions.
I’m not a naturally happy person. I’m prone to being an internal Eeyore and someone once told me that they thought my dopamine receptors were off – I never take a moment to stop and celebrate achievements but am always, always pushing on to the next thing.
But you know, I don’t think that’s got anything to do with happiness. Maybe we’ve just forgotten what happiness actually is or should be.
Everyone’s looking for THE BIG HAPPY all the time, don’t you think? The grand passion, the surge of adrenaline, the X-Factor win in life’s events. It’s not enough to be happy, we have to be HAPPY. We must be physically perfect, beautiful, endlessly talented. Love has to be like something out of Notting Hill. To be happy, life must be PERFECT.
You know what? To equate HAPPINESS with PERFECTION is to keep it forever out of reach. THE BIG HAPPYS? They’re something else. In my head, those are called ‘moments’. You see a man across a room and you have a ‘moment’. You get that book/film/TV deal and you have one huge motherfucking moment – but that’s still all it is. A moment.
Happiness is something more subtle. Happiness is like sugar paper on the tongue.
I spend a lot of time chasing the ‘moments’. I’m one of those kind of people. But recently I’ve taken stock of everything else.
Life has changed over the past few weeks. I’ve moved to London (I know, I know, I’ve barely mentioned it). This has been both brilliant and a bit scary, but it’s certainly made my life busier and put me back in the world after my Miss Havisham existence in Milton Keynes. I have wonderful friends nearby who have been great during my whole moving house experience, I have a city I love on my doorstep, and I’m loving writing at the moment.
My little flat is starting to feel like home. I’m buying stuff to ‘put in it’ – something I never did with the house I owned. Writery people abound in London and are always up for wine. I have the Keynes to escape to if I want quiet. The world seems warm. I’m smiling a lot.
I woke up yesterday and I realised that although I’ll always be prone to a little bit of darkness and fear, those things can’t be helped, and actually – all things considered I’m tentatively feeling happy. What a rare thing to feel in this age of DEMAND and WANT. It’s a quiet feeling, happiness. A gentle thing. Butterfly wings against the beat of your heart. In the rush of life, you can almost not notice it’s there until it’s gone again.
I have sugar paper on my tongue. I’m going to savour it.