Happiness

“I think my new thing will be to try to be a real happy guy. I’ll just walk around being real happy until some jerk says something stupid to me.” – Jack Handey

For those of you who have never heard of Jack Handey, or the SNL segment known as “Deep Thoughts” check out the website.  Make sure you’re somewhere where raucous laughter won’t cause people to look at you strangely, or offer to get you a straight jacket.  I warn you, his is not high-brow humor, but more the kind that makes you laugh out loud while simultaneously asking “WTF?”  At least, that’s how his stuff affects me.  Granted, my sense of humor can oftentimes be considered twisted — a fact of which I’m mighty proud — but regardless, things like this bring a smile to my face.

Happiness is one of those topics (like love) that means something different to everyone.  Some think money will bring them happiness, others think it’s love or clothes, or cars, etc. Many Zen and Buddhist followers believe that one must look within oneself in order to find true happiness.  Some think it’s a God-given right, while others still believe it’s something that you must fight for.

Me? I think happiness is a choice, though it’s not always an easy one to make.  When I’m in a hurry to get somewhere and it seems the Universe is conspiring to make me late, I can cuss a blue streak like you wouldn’t believe.  Still, when those moments hit me and I become frustrated, somewhere in the back of my brain I hear gentle reminders that I can either choose to be pissed off at the current situation, or choose to be happy despite whatever obstacle comes my way.  Recently, events have happened in my life that have challenged my ability to choose happiness.  In all honesty, I chose the pity party at first.  But then I looked more closely at the situation and realized that the Universe gave me what I’d asked for.  Not in the way I had hoped, but my wish was granted nonetheless.  When I looked at the circumstances in that light, it made it easier for me to find the silver lining.

I remember the moment I knew I was on the quest to attain and maintain happiness in my life.  I was watching the movie City Slickers, and Billy Crystal’s character (Mitch) was riding horses along with Jack Palance’s character (Curly).  Curly asked Mitch if he knew what the secret of life was.  When Mitch said no, Curly held up his finger and said “It’s one thing…just one thing.”  “That’s great, but what is it?” asked Mitch.  The reply was, “That’s what you have to figure out.”

With that response, I had one of those shift-in-the-universe kind of moments.  You know the kind, where your whole body tingles with awareness and goosebumps form on your skin even when there’s no wind blowing.  I knew in that moment that the secret of life for me was to be happy.  I vowed then and there that, if I wasn’t happy, I had to change something.  Sometimes that change was a new city to live in, sometimes it was a new job, still other times it was an internal change in how I perceived the situation.

While happiness might not be the “secret of life” for you, I’m sure it ranks up there as something very important.  It’s one of the bits from The Declaration of Independence that helped form this country:

“. . . they are endowed . . . with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are . . . the pursuit of Happiness . . .”

Interestingly enough, though, is another quote from a child’s animated film.  At the end of The Last Unicorn, the unicorn asks Schmendrick the Magician whether or not he’s happy.  Schmendrick says “Humans don’t always know when they’re happy, but I think so.”  It’s interesting to note that happiness isn’t something we can necessarily see while we’re in any given moment. Hindsight always offers a clearer vision of past events, and many times we didn’t realize how happy we were until we’re out of that situation.  But I’d like to think that, over time, we learn to see and appreciate each of those joyous moments while we’re living them.

I know I’m being very Pollyanna here, but let’s take a moment and play the Glad Game.  Please share with me (and the other readers) what makes you happy.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dana
    Dec 10, 2010 @ 08:53:06

    Interestingly enough, I was just discussing happiness with my ex this past weekend. I went to see a roller derby bout – he works at the Doll Factory and is a huge fan. He helps keep the track together before/during/after bouts and practices. I haven’t seen him look so purely happy in years. It took 20 years off his face. He reminded me I’d told him when I left to find something that makes him happy… and this does. He also said that he feels joy when he’s there, which he defines as different then happiness. Anyway, I feel the same way you do about happiness, both the pursuit of, the challenges, and the fact it’s a choice. Great post!

    Reply

  2. Alyx Morgan
    Dec 10, 2010 @ 09:09:08

    The fact that you are happy makes me happy. YAY you!!

    I agree happiness is a choice.

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Dec 10, 2010 @ 11:26:56

      ** Editor’s Note ** This comment was posted by my mom via my laptop. I was still logged in to my account, which is why it appears as though I made a comment to my own blog.

      Thanks, mom, for commenting, & for applauding my happiness. 🙂

      Reply

  3. Kaye George
    Dec 11, 2010 @ 08:24:37

    I think, rather than happiness, my secret is to be content with what I have. I’ve had recent challenges to my equilibrium, too, and am reminded of a couple of things.

    First, as has been mentioned, that your state of being is your own responsibility, that is, you can’t control what happens to you but you can control your reaction (or try to!).

    Second, an old Ziggy cartoon that went on for a few frames about what he had been doing to find happiness, until he realized he already had it. It’s the journey, not the destination. I know, a lot of cliches! But they all speak volumes on this subject.

    Nice post!

    Reply

    • Alyx Morgan
      Dec 11, 2010 @ 09:16:42

      You’re so right, Kaye. It is all about the journey. That’s a lesson that I haven’t fully learned yet. And I personally think cliches are used so often because, like generalizations, there is a lot of truth in them.

      I also think contentment is a wonderful thing to work towards.

      Glad you enjoyed the post, & thank you for visiting.

      Reply

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