From an early age we are taught happiness is the utopia we should aim to reach and, once there, should stay put.
It’s funny really; always pursuing the vision of permanent vim and vigour leaves us ripe for disappointment.
The uncomfortable truth is that the blissed-out perpetual end state doesn’t exist. Curse those childhood fairy tales – no, actually, curse Disney for turning what were dark stories into magical fables and MAKING US BELIEVE.
Well, we’re older and wiser now*. We accept the storms of adversity and wide plains of success are not linear and nor are our feelings. We appreciate their different facets especially those which contribute to our felicity.
You know, like the…
Smug-happy: It’s only 9.30am and you’ve already been for a run, put on a wash, booked the car’s MOT and filled your slow cooker with lovely food. You’re alert, active and firing on hi-octane cylinders. In fact, you could probably power other people’s too. Smokin’.
My-way happy: When life is unexpectedly on the right side of you. Little moments contribute to your overall glow: getting the last space in the car park, being first in line when they open another till in Lidl (victory!) and feeling the sun on your face after months of rain.
OTT happy: You blow-dried your hair perfectly without even trying, got the kids out the door with time to spare, nailed a deadline and scooped £50 in the work lottery. Winning. Pure elation without mainlining coffee first.
Love-happy: It’s a mood best defined, metaphorically speaking, as cuddling everything and everyone. You smile wider than usual. You make social arrangements not because you feel you should but because you want to. You say ‘I love you’ more. You donate extra-generously and sign countless change.org petitions because you care the planet and every goddamn thing on it.
Zen-happy: Today you’re fuzzy warm but ambivalent. You’re sailing through the day. Relaxed. Peaceful. There are no internal struggles or external influences impacting on your frame of mind. You’re cocooned in self-care. You may go out. You may not. You may vacuum the lounge. You may not. Who knows?
Mission-happy: You’re brimming with steely purpose and functionality. You triggered into action as soon as your alarm clock goes off. You do all the ‘boring but imporant’ tasks you’ve been putting off for months. You possess a powerful knack of saying no rather than yes without the guilt or drama. No one can stop you – in fact, they’re a bit awestruck with admiration at your powerful determination. Bam, bam, bam, done, done, done. You are She-Ra.
Perhaps we’ve been getting it wrong all these years, striding along the path towards where we think the pot of gold contains our happily ever after.
Maybe we’re better off collecting the little things each day that make us feel good. Because actually, it seems, the reality is way better than the fantasy.
*Although, yes, we still watch them.