‘I just want to be happy,’ she sighs, paging through yet another magazine filled with adverts urging her to swipe her credit card over and over for products that will make her thinner, prettier, smarter. She knows that none of these things will magically transform her into a happier person, but she wonders what will.
If we’re totally honest with ourselves, I think we’ll find that most of us have unrealistic ideals about happiness. A perpetual state of bliss devoid of any sadness, pain, anguish, and fear might sound lovely, but I haven’t met a single living being untainted by hardship or pain.
I think we could let go of our rigid ideas about happiness. Happiness shouldn’t be an equation. It shouldn’t be this plus that, plus that, and that and that, equals happy. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It could be just one thing.
We could make things a little simpler. We don’t have to pin our happiness onto some elaborate future vision. It could be (should be) something now. The flutter of a bird’s wings. A sublime sunset. A smile from a total stranger. Something small. Something right now.
We could do more of what we love, and less of what we don’t. We could truly listen to ourselves, we could know exactly what that great passion is, and we could do it, no matter how much it scares us.
We could lose ourselves in those moments that lift our hearts. We could stop thinking about the next thing we’re going to say, the next thing we’re going to do, or be, or have. We could just breathe … we could just drop our anchors into this moment.
We could be ourselves. We don’t have to take ourselves all that seriously. We don’t have to conform. We don’t have to fit in. And we don’t have to stand out. We could just be what comes easiest, we could be who we are.
We could linger when our gaze falls onto something beautiful instead of rushing by with no more than a fleeting of thought about that sudden snatch of loveliness. Once in a while, we could stop, and we could smell the roses.
We could give freely to others without worrying about what we’ll be getting back, or when or how we’ll be getting it back. We could do it without expecting even a thanks or a smile. We could do it just because.
We could enjoy the journey. We might be happy once we’ve found that place where we have all the things we want, where we are all the things we think we need to be. But we could be happy while we’re getting there too.
I think we could accept that happiness doesn’t have to be perfect. We could just live in this moment. And we could find some kind of beauty in it. And we could try and take it with us into the next.
I think we could find a happiness that is more about finding cloud 9 within ourselves despite the darkness and the madness that swirls around us.
I think we could.