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 12This 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.