Call It Happiness | 4.18.21

The Sunday Edition

We know all the cliches, we’ve heard all the famous quotes floating around, about the best way to ruin happiness is to overthink it, and this is just another to drop into that bucket. These 17 syllables, these simple words, another in a long line of advice you never asked for, but maybe, just maybe, needed.

This time removed from our normal lives, this strange year that pulled us all apart and planted us miles and months and a million missed moments from one another, has shown me a lot. I’ve had more time to think, to process, to investigate and search out things that I’ve long been curious about. Happiness, chiefly among them, has been tossed around my noisy mind like river rocks being polished smooth, and I think I understand now more than I have in a long time. As many before me have said, the clearest path towards the absolute destruction of our own joy, is to analyze it. The moment we begin dissecting, labeling, studying, and fighting to understand happiness, the more fleeting it becomes, the less it feels like that warm slice of chocolate cake hugging that it can, and should be. Strange, I’ve realized, that we do not do this with grief, choosing instead to rush through it and try to get over it as swiftly as possible. We do not analyze our sadness, we do not doubt it, the same way we do with joy. We accept it as a necessary evil that must be overcome, but we do not fight to understand it. We know that we feel sadness because we are sad, because something rose up in our lives to create a feeling of melancholy, of ache, and instead of breaking that down, we take the steps (or don’t, sadly, and we just accept it) to overcome it.

With happiness, we’re different beasts. We analyze its origins, we blame ourselves for becoming over-excited, for getting our hopes up, and we dissect it in every possible way. We begin to wonder how long it will last, wonder what opposite force it will give rise to, when the other shoe will drop and we will regret ever basking in that brilliant glow of contentedness. Why? Why are we so afraid to raise our hand into the universe, declare the joy we’ve earned, and then breathe it deeply in? Instead, we chase it out, we frighten it from our lives by throwing the film noir interrogation room spotlight onto it the moment it sits down at the table across us. WHY ARE YOU HERE, WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR!? we shout into it’s confused face. Soon enough, it confesses to a crime it never committed, and so we lock it up and wait for the next sorrow to find us.

I’m here to ask a favor: For the next 1 month, every time you catch yourself feeling happiness, allow it in, and leave it the hell alone. Allow yourself to feel it, to enjoy it, and stop trying to hard to make it make sense. Give it a month, then check back in with me, let me know how you feel.

Do not question it,

stop fighting to understand,

call it happiness.

Haiku on Life by Tyler Knott Gregson

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