Happiness: it is something we all struggle with. For most of us, it always seems to be slightly out of reach, a pipe dream, something that always needs that one more thing to become a reality. That pay rise. That relationship. That new pair of shoes.
I’m guilty of it too, guilty of believing that happiness is a tangible destination round the next bend, and in some ways it is. When I go shopping (sensibly) and buy something I want, for a short amount of time, I am ecstatically happy. For that moment when you first open a box of Dominoes, that smell is pure happiness. For the moment when you sit down to start the new season of Stranger Things, armed with a cup of tea and snacks, that’s happiness. But it is always fleeting and then often you feel guilty for wasting money, or time, on something quite trivial. You feel you should have spent time working, to pay for that big holiday, to pay for a house, to go to the gym and get that body that you will make you happy long term. Then, whatever fleeting happiness you have, is gone.
But which is the right choice? Should you settle for short term bursts of happiness, or should you hold out for something more meaningful? Should you have some fun one nights stands, or should you ignore any chances, and hold out for that long term, happy relationship? There are arguments for both sides, but as someone who accidentally lives by the ‘treat yo’self mantra,’ I feel like those who don’t live by this, tend to judge those who do. I’m seeing a lot of trending tweets on Twitter at the moment, about 18 year olds who are ‘financially stable’ and have their own houses. Our social media culture mean that we are always looking at other people for inspiration, and listening to what other people say will make us happy.
I’m not saying all happiness comes wrapped up in money, I was happy just lying with my dogs the other day. A text or a hug or a call from the right person can make you happy, but equally, a text or a call or a message from the wrong person can make you unhappy. I’ve written before about sadness, and happiness, when it for me seemed a million miles away. I have also quoted from One Tree Hill before (I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I LOVE One Tree Hill like sorry what that show is life):
‘Happiness is a journey, not a destination.’
Happiness can be as a fleeting as one second of laughter, seeing a puppy on the path, that first drink when you wake up in the morning, the feeling as you see a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. Happiness can also be a long term feeling deep inside you – the feeling when you look at your partner, a feeling of contentedness in something you’re doing, a deep fizzing happiness for your family, your life, yourself. But unhappiness can be equally as fickle, and is equally as understandable. This is putting this in ridiculously simple terms, but at the end of the day, if you’re having a hard time and you want to buy that dress, or that game, that food, for that one moment of happiness, that’s okay. At the same time, if you know that one day buying that house, buying that car, that plane journey will make you happy, hold out for that. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing, just do you.
Happiness is not designed to be understood, or pinned down, and it is not something that can be conveyed with an Instagram post, or a carefully formulated Tweet. Just because someone is claiming they are happy, it doesn’t mean that they are. Happiness is fickle, and we should all remember that, and I think I for one, should stop waiting for it as something that will suddenly happen because of one reason. Maybe we are all where we are for a reason, and not all happiness is equal, and no two happiness’s (is that a word?) are the same.
Hairband: Attached to my wrist