There are quite a few things that make me happy. Really good music, really catchy music, tends to put me in a state of euphoria that makes me forget all else. For example, on my daily drive to work, I encounter what seems to be a parade for slow drivers. Often, I am irked, perturbed, and all sorts of raged up from being forced to slow down for several miles at a time. But, by the magic of the "shuffle" function on my iPod, sometimes a really good song will come on and all is forgiven.
Nostalgia also makes me happy. When I'm daydreaming, I often find myself leaving the present to return to especially ethereal-like times in my past. Times spent with friends at the beaches of Lake Michigan, just enjoying our time together before cops kicked us out. Other times that were spent looking at the sunset on the beaches of the west coast; times spent where nothing really was going on, but we were together. Perhaps bordering the boundaries of the ethereal, I also think to times when I had the opportunity to travel distances by myself, sometimes driving aimlessly in a random direction.
Comics, TV shows, good art, and anything visually pleasing make me happy. Creativity. Creation. Invention. Design. There's really a lot of things that please me. Tickles my fancy, if you will.
But the thing is, all of these are temporal. To be happy, there needs to be a continuous supply of these things being fed to me so that the breaks between experiencing happiness are at their shortest. However, time doesn't work that way, and isn't exactly out there to please your ever desire. And happiness, being what it is, doesn't wait for you to experience it.
The concept of happiness, up until then, had been a foreign concept. It was intangible, and appeared sporadically and without warning. Certain things would trigger "happiness", while others would not, and it was a constant puzzle to figure out what these things were. From this point forward, I wondered to myself, at the end of my days, can I truly say that I am happy?
How does one even decide what happiness means? I wonder how someone who is homeless can smile, while someone making a fortune is consistently unsatisfied with life. I wonder how I, as a child, enjoyed splashing in puddles, whereas these days I loathe getting my socks wet (the HORROR). I wonder where people find happiness, and alternatively, where they stumble upon sadness.
The burden that comes with this definition is that "happiness" as "completion" does necessitate sadness, as well. When my grandmother passed away, I guess what I was really asking myself was whether or not she was "complete", not that I had any say in the matter. Rather than thinking about if she was happy, I thought that if she looked back on her life and felt complete, taking all the good times with the bad, then all was well.
I think about the difference between a homeless person and a CEO. Does the homeless person feel complete, despite not having permanent shelter, reliable sources of food, or elsewise? Perhaps--maybe there are things that hold higher value to that person. And for the CEO, maybe they never found something that completes them, and uses money and power to compensate. But, just like a puzzle, you can't substitute pieces from another puzzle.
Maybe, at the end of the day, this is really just a call for all of us to find what completes our puzzles, rather than looking for what makes us "happy". Those things will come spontaneously, whenever they want. When we find that purpose, that meaning, then maybe we can be happy through the good times and the bad.
I wanted to say, once again, that it's been really great seeing how the concept of Word Vomit Wednesdays has grown, despite it's vulgar title. When Taylor and I started this two months ago, it was meant simply as an exercise to write regularly and vulnerably. Never did I expect any more than the occasional Facebook comment. And now, it has spread to nearly a dozen regular writers, and a lot of interest from readers and writers alike. It's always encouraging to hear how it has spread, especially when someone says something to me in real life. Like we've been saying this entire time, the end goal here is really just to enjoy writing and community together.