Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the happiness conundrum

Many pursue happiness. And many believe happiness is the end result, the point of the game, the goal.

I get that. Happiness is a delightful place to be. Bright, shiny, effortless, well . . . happy. Who wouldn't want to be there.

But, happiness is fleeting. There are moments of bliss, of joy, of connection but they don't last, they can't last. Happiness is ephemeral, intangible, something to revel in, in the moment. Happiness is fragile. When we hold on too tight the bubble bursts. And in place of delight there can be fear, angst, panic we'll never get to happy again.

The thing is, it's not a destination. You can't necessarily choose it. It surprises you, sometimes creeping up slowly, sometimes smacking you in the face. It can be subtle and sweet or side-splitting. It can be intense or quiet. Happiness can be solitary or a collective experience.

Happiness can be scary. The thought of losing it can be devastating. Years ago, when I was trapped in a dark tunnel of depression and lost in anorexia, the rare glimmers I had of joy completely freaked me out. It was far more comfortable and safe to be uncomfortable than to hope and crash.

But now my glass is half full. My status quo is that good should outweigh bad. I revel in those moments when happiness finds me and have faith, when it fades, that it'll surprise me yet again.

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