June 5, 2012


Twice in twenty-four hours, the question was raised: Am I happy? I think that I am! There is a moment of triumph and joy as I say this, right before the moment when all of the doubts begin to flood over me. I start to play games of semantics and I try to remember all of the quotes I have ever heard about happiness, the words that bolster up what I believe about it, the words that have encouraged me to keep in search of it ever since I was old enough to do so. Only two quotes arrive off the top of my head, though surely there must be more.
My mental search is not thorough, I have not initiated a full-scale investigation. But is that really necessary? I can remember times when I have been very, very unhappy. Some of them were routine: I was stressed, I was busy, I was lonely. And some of them were very dark. One thing that I always knew is that, at those times, I was most definitely unhappy. So if that is not my first answer, then doesn't that simply deduce that I must indeed be happy? 
"But what is happiness? It's a moment before you need more happiness." -Don Draper, "Mad Men" Season 5, Episode 12
 This is one of the lines that had me thinking about happiness in the first place, and it is cynical, sure, but there is something to it. His words are accurate, if we are considering the cultures many of us live in day to day. I, like so many people, am so good at focusing on the next thing on the horizon while entirely dismissing what lies right before me. The line anchored itself in my consciousness and begged consideration for the following twenty-four hours, which leads me to the here and now, still thinking about it. (Thank you, amazing "Mad Men" writers!)

Am I happy? On to quote number two...
"Happiness is somewhere I have been before, a blurry photograph that I have since ignored." -Sleeping at Last, "Aperture"
Go ahead and call me the biggest nerd you know, but I am as big a fan of Ryan's lyrics as anyone!! His writing amazes me and I cannot even begin to imagine achieving the poetry he crafts in every single song. Ironically, and unrelated to his own lyrics, he was the second person to ask me about my happiness, on a nice date we shared a couple of nights ago. He asked me how happy I am, on a scale of one to ten (one of his favorite forms of measurement), compared to other times in my life. 

I have been cleaning up some loose-end boxes and storage items around our home, and I have come across all sorts of bits of memories and photos that remind me of the life I have lived so far. All of the things I imagined my life to be, that it has not been, and all of the painful paths I have had to follow in order to come out into the light of love and truth: these memories are close at hand right now. And what they have done is make me grateful to be where I am, to have traveled the paths I have traveled, that have led me here. And what they say with another kind and gentle push forward, out into the light, is that yes, I am happy.

Sure, maybe my next unhappiness will be right around the corner. And maybe I have not even begun to know the happiness that will come next, which will make this happiness pale in comparison. But there is something amazing about giving yourself the small, private gift of seeing what is right in front of you, and feeling proud and grateful, allowing yourself to bask for a moment in the light.


  1. Happiness.... such a central part of everyone's life and at the same time can also be pushed so far back that you simply no longer think about it. Life, I believe, is measured by those moments of happiness that you will always carry with you.. graduation day, moving away from your parents, first "real" job, wedding day, birth of your children.. I have had the pleasure to experience all of these happy moments and they certainly have shaped my heart around how and what makes me feel happy... Presently, after being married for almost a decade and 4 children later, these moments still make me smile, they bring me back to those individual moments, and on an every day scale I would have to say my number would be an 8. Some days are certainly a 10 and some days far lower... Your blog today strikes me because I too have been asking myself the same question... my family has gone through some very big changes this last year as I am sure you have as well... Moving from California, beaches and sun, being famous is just not that special in Hollywood, and the paparazzi are more annoying then anything in the world.. you cannot even walk down the street without being photographed just because of your lunch date?? ugh... to a slower and more family friendly state that we now live in. Happiness has been the focus of our longest talks, whether or not we made the right decision, whether we are in the right place.. Happiness definitely plays a role in our everyday lives. You catch yourself silently asking if you are truly happy, if you are in a good place within your self, and whether or not you can weather through the days with lower scores. The one piece of advice that I will give after being married as long as I have been is always remember the days that have changed your life. For true happiness will come from a collaboration of all of those moments wrapped up into a number, a smile, or a look that you give your Husband! That gift you speak about where you bask in the light, that moment is what makes it all worth it, always allow yourself that moment.. As every one will say about your children "watch carefully they grow up right before your very eyes" is so very true about children and also about life.. give it a moment to just take it in for life too will just pass right before you if you don't stop and look it in the eye every now and again! :0) thank you for this... I needed it today! Sorry for my long response!

  2. Shannon- Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights! It is encouraging to hear how you have held on to your happiness and learned to 'bask' as well. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! :)