Is happiness a lack of sadness or merely the ability to see beyond the pain?
I wrote this on a whimsy back in University days, when life was still powered by the achievable dream and everything was going to work out exactly as I imagined.
Life didn’t quite follow that path, but then it rarely does, and yet would I be any happier if it had?
An impossible question, but I expect contentment would be roughly the same, unless I’d decided to get involved with the mafia and was currently locked in a boot on my way to a deserted hill, but I’m fairly certain I’d be of little use to such an outfit; aside from my ability to make the perfect brew even though I don’t drink the stuff.
The decisions we make, the coincidences we bumble through, we shuffle and collide with existence in a manner no level of planning can take into account. The choices we use to bridge the gap of a moment stretch out and beyond, becoming the framework and base of the most influential aspects of our human CV. Looking back down the path we have walked, the horizon covers its beginning, but the most insignificant moments are truly the ones whose consequential tentacles embed themselves the strongest.
So don’t berate yourself for the perceived errors you’ve made, don’t judge life on the distance between your dreams and reality; don’t consider a lack of labelled attainment to be failure, and don’t fall into the trap that says happiness must be bestowed upon you when in truth it comes from how we choose to interpret the world we live within. We can only open the sail upon our boat and hold it towards the wind we wish to be carried on, where it takes us is defined by the currents and fluctuations that we encounter along the way.
As a dithering man, a friend once told me there’s no wrong answer; and in truth there’s no wrong life. As long as you can see the genuine pockets of joy that litter the everyday: that extra slice of bacon on your butty, a comforting touch without words from the person you love when you most need it, a smile from a stranger, a pair of heated socks on a cold morning; rather than scrabbling for the spectacular we’re tricked into believing are the only way of justifying our time here, then contentment is but a sniff away.
Refuse to be fooled by the expectations set by others, and shiny men wishing to make you buy futile objects, they’re an empty myth built upon a hollow shell. Build your own shell and fill it with the things you enjoy, as far as possible. There’ll always be gaps where frustrations creep in, where things go wrong, where life threatens to get the better of you, but those are the times that define us and teach us the most. In many ways they’re the glue that holds the pleasure in place.
It’s your choice which side you focus on.