Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Happiness Redefined

Lately I've been thinking about happiness, the definition of it, the impracticality of it. All this inspired by a "You should get more happier," comment that pissed me right off in the other direction.

I am not an "unhappy" person by definition or by nature. I smile and laugh. Unhappy people don't smile and laugh nearly as much as I smile and laugh.

Sometimes I play monster with the kids and kiss them or tickle them until we are all laughing. Sometimes when I'm watching them read a book or dig in the dirt or draw a picture a feeling comes over me that I can't explain.

I get out of bed in the morning, most days. I eat. I communicate. Or at least try to. I wash things. I drink coffee in the morning and beer at 6 o'clock. I do not drink beer at 6 o'clock in the morning.

Sometimes I yell. At people. And for this I am sorry. Sometimes I grumble into the air, mumble obscenities because sometimes I get angry with humans and the world. I can't help it. Really.

Yesterday as I walked my baby along the boulevard staring into the calm of the ocean, watching blue-grey water meet sand, I heard a familiar voice. It was my back yard neighbor. I hadn't seen her since the birth of the baby, Thea now over a year.

We took a few minutes to hear about each other, her three daughters here and everywhere and "happy." "It's a gift to have them doing what they want to be doing, traveling, working. It's a relief to have them 'happy.'"

"Yes," I say. I can imagine that it would be a relief.

"You are so lucky to be doing what you are doing. This is a wonderful time for you you know? You can't get it back."

"Yes," I say automatically. "I am lucky. This is a wonderful time," and we part.

I think for a minute. Sometimes I want to beat up the people who say this to me. "Do you remember?" I want to say.

But for some reason today I do not want to do harm to this woman. For one, I like her. I've liked her since I met her while teaching her youngest daughter my first year at the high school. And two, I believe her. Today I believe her.

Not yesterday. Not the day before. And probably not tomorrow.

But today I believe her. Could it be that I am happy? Today. Maybe tomorrow. And probably the next day.

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