It’s 8:33 in the afternoon on St. Valentine’s Day, I’m listening to the Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris’ on YouTube, I have the worst headache in eternity, I’m sweating like it’s the fourth of July and I’m outside watching the fireworks crackle, and I am happy.
Happiness is a simple enough word. Compromised of nine letters, it is defined as a state of well-being and contentment, joy, or a pleasurable or satisfying experience. With all due respect to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary makers, I have a much different definition. And I have cultivated this definition from experiences that most of us have had.
Happiness is a rainy day that you spend safe at home with someone you love.
Happiness is biting into a Granny Smith apple with all the windows open in a house with no furniture but the miracle couch you found outside of someone’s house.
Happiness is the sound of Bono’s voice.
Happiness is seeing someone at work or at school or the supermarket and blushing.
Happiness is finally being able to sleep sound after an X-Files marathon.
Happiness is seeing the smile on my brother’s face as he plays ‘God of War’ on his brand new PSP. Not that I have any idea what ‘God of War’ or a PSP is.
Happiness is conference calls with my mother and father.
Happiness is watching a Chris Farley movie.
Happiness is fondue.
Happiness is dreams of France.
Happiness is black and white movies.
Happiness is somewhere between the pages of my used copy of The Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy.
Happiness is knowing that no matter what, I’ll wake up in the morning happy. At least most of the time.
And why will I nearly always wake up happy? Because I get to spend rainy days safe at home with someone I love, because I get to eat Dove chocolate, because I get to watch ‘The Apartment’ over and over, because I get to listen to good music, because I get to have a family that makes me smile, because I get to wash the dog slobber from my hands after playing fetch with my dog who doesn’t understand that he has to let go of the yellow ball eventually, and because I know exactly what happiness means to me, I get to have it. Sure, I have my fill of unhappy moments, and I do not, by any means, ignore those bad moments. I learn from them, and make up for them by eating more apples on my red and white stripy couch.
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln, a man who did not get to achieve much happiness in his life, said this. And as a generation that I call mine would say, “Nuf said.”
And this essay might have been annoying to you, and it might not have made you happy, and that’s okay. At least you know that it’s not making you happy.
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