I see my reflection in dented metal siding. My face is the borscht pink. My limbs and spine tingle with the weight of exhaustion and anxiety. There is a small, undetectable grin on my face, that even a ruler is placed up against my face may miss. Am I sick? Delirious due to the situational stress? No. It’s perspective.
That is the extreme situation. I understand why many would respond to that description with a big WTF. Being trapped in Russia due to a Visa violation isn’t Mardi Gras, but it’s still raw adventure, a story for the bulging back-pocket, for attentive eyes, for inducing salivation. This is short and sweet. Happiness cannot be dictated from the higher ups. They can inspire us and implore us, but ultimately it is up to us to define our own happiness. Even then, it may be considered beyond decision, something deeper, involuntary, and uncontrollable like flowing blood. And they will try. They will try to get you to conform to their smiles. To their tears. To their boxes. Don’t check them. Don’t live in them. Don’t pass it on to your next akin, with the preamble of “that’s just the way we do things”.
All versions of happiness are valid and are form fitting. When you are sitting in your version of a tent, rippling with blistering gales and pelting rain, your drenched to the apple core, and all your electronic devices are gasping for a last bit of life, as their non-water compatible electronic components drown in small pools as you sleep in every piece of clothing you have with you, that is happiness. Typing away at a report in some 4 by 4 cubicle well into the weekend, while your boss spends his Saturday, spending time with his kids….that also can be happiness. Happiness cannot be argued and if it does no harm to others, it should not be prevented. This post reiterates the obvious, but something that sometimes we need to be reminded of, to set long list of duties into perspective.
Pause. Put down whatever it is you are burdened by, whether it is thoughts or a stapler. Ask yourself:
Are you happy?
What can you do right now that will make you so?