I'd like to thank Lyn from lynbree photography for twigging me onto 100 Happy Days in her recent Friday Flash blog post.
I believe we get really hung up on the definition of happiness in Western culture. I know I used to have a very different understanding of what it meant to be happy. I confused happiness with an easy life, things always going my way and no one around me ever hurting. I saw happiness as this sort of blissful state of joyful giddiness, almost. Something to be clung to that seemed forever in short supply for it's fleeting nature.
The shift in my perspective has been ongoing for several years. It started when I was in my late teens and has been evolving ever since. I've come to appreciate that life is not fixable. There is no 'pause' button and therefore the idea of 'everything settling down' at some point is absurd because that implies we can somehow control external circumstances.
Happiness is not the perfect job or the ideal partner or the best holiday. Happiness is a state of mind and one which can exist regardless of the external. I think perhaps a better word to use than 'happiness' would be 'contentment'.
After reading Lyn's blog I reflected on how I generate this sense of ease in my own life - this sense of joy for the very fact that I am alive.
I fixed the tire on my bike, patching a hole and reassembling the whole thing. I am grateful for my ability to learn and retain a skill like this, the independence it gives me.
As I was working on this my darling fur-child jumped up on my back, placing her paws upon my head as she perched to look around. I felt joy at the companionship, the pure delight in having such a sweet cat and how wonderful she is to watch as she curiously explores the world around her.
Later, once my bike was fixed, I went for a walk. The sun was breaking through the cloud periodically. I am grateful that I live somewhere with so many green spaces nearby. On this particular walk I went to the cemetery just up the road.
The sun was warm on my back as I wandered the lanes weaving their way through the graves. I paused to look at one marked as that of a 90 year old, the ground planted with rosemary and thyme. Next to it, a smaller grave, the birth date and death date being one and the same. The grass behind these graves was full of the thicker, darker leaves of daffodils beginning to poke through.
I am grateful for love - the love of parents who never got to know their child beyond a fleeting moment and the love of a family who planted herbs for someone who was with them for longer than most.
Anything that might be going on in our lives at any given moment - any pain and hurt we may be experiencing - there is happiness to be found in our abilities; our dexterity, our sight, our mobility if we have it.
There is happiness to be found in watching the life around us; the animal who we are lucky enough to have as companions for however long that may be.
There is happiness to be found in knowing that even if there are clouds the sky is vast and open and the brightness of the sun is always there, even at night when it's reflected off the moon - and that's something quite awesome in the true meaning of the word.
Never mind finding one thing to bring us happiness each day - each day offers a hundred happy moments if you know how to look.