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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happiness

I wrote an essay in an exam once in high school, called "Happy Life", and it was selected as a piece to be in the school magazine. I'm now rewriting this essay, hopefully capturing the essence of my thoughts right now.

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Happiness is a word used in many contexts. You could be feeling happy with someone or something. You could be happy with the outcome of something. You could be just happy. The definition of the word happiness varies from person to person - everyone walked a different path, everyone has their own story to tell, and everyone has different points of views and priorities.


The only image I can think about right now when I think of happiness is Michelle Phan. Don't ask me why, but she just projects the image of happiness to me. She does what she loves, and she helps millions of girls stay pretty and confident everyday by doing that. She's beautiful inside out - she has so many friends, close family, a beautiful relationship; practically everything that a person would want in a happy life.


For most people, happiness means achieving. Be it work, dreams, or third-party expectations - as long as something is achieved, they're happy. This is a criteria I do not fall in - my sense of pride in my achievements are often short-lived, as modern day life has pushed me to expect more from myself, yet I almost always fail to deliver.


Sometimes you come across some people who have almost nothing material in life, but are perfectly happy the way they are. Sometimes, I can't comprehend these people - don't they have to worry about living expenses, government policy changes that might affect them? But apparently, it's because worrying just isn't in some of them. I've read a quote somewhere on the internet once, "worrying is a waste of great creativity". Despite agreeing with the quote, I find myself, and many around me, still worrying about things that we cannot change. As the old saying goes, "old habits die hard" - this habit is going to take quite a while to die.


For people like me, who have often been alone - physically, mentally and emotionally - for most of their lives, would view company as happiness, I think. All the time, I crave company, warmth, and understanding. My friends, and those who have been close to me in the past years, were and are my treasure. Losing a friend scares me, as with losing someone I love. I see this as my biggest weakness - being needy, and always afraid to initiate contact, just because she's afraid she might get on someone's nerves. My shyness, my lack of self confidence most of the time, and my reluctance to risk things have always put me in a bad situation.


Relationships, somehow, play a large role in my mental health. Perhaps it supplies me with the warmth that I need. Perhaps it's because I actually have or had a genuine feeling for that person. Perhaps it's a mixture of both, plus a few external factors. My emotions came to an abrupt halt when my last relationship crumbled - I saw the world differently then.


All that surrounded me was bleak and gray, nothing interested me. Once in a while, something would come up - very briefly - and brighten up, adding color to my gray canvas. However, these were usually short-lived - very quickly, the color faded back to gray, and so did my emotions. With certain people, I would lay over my gray canvas a transparency of color. This tinted my world a little, but never really lasted. Once or twice, a blob of light and color would flash through my canvas, passing me by.


Slowly the gray faded, and color replaced it. Feeling was something I knew how to do again, but falling was suddenly a stranger to me. I forgot how to be warm, I forgot how it's like to be close - it was like I completely forgot how to make contact with others. I think it was more like, I became afraid of contact. I became afraid of becoming the annoying person that everyone hated. I was scared of everything.


Recently, among all my colors, came a blob of color - so bright that no one could miss it. It came in, coloring every little nook and cranny of everything around me. It added a warmth to the canvas, and yet, almost as quickly as it came, it disappeared. Not completely, but somehow, it just removed itself from the canvas, staying at the edges of it.


I know, the topic has strayed far, but that whirlwind of warm color has been on my mind quite a while now. I think for me, happiness would be to have a lot of people close to me - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Happiness would be talking to them for hours on end, sharing almost everything that could be shared, doing all sorts of things together, embedding our mutual memories in the waves of time.


Happiness, as frequently used as it is, isn't existent to everyone. Somewhat like religion, UFOs, and certain theories, some people don't believe it exists ... anymore. I don't know how true this is, or what criteria it covers, but these people are those who has gone through so much, without seeing any light, that they just lose hope. They would rather believe that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, than continue forging forward toward that belief.


In a way, I'm stuck between both. Sometimes, I actually see that bright light at the end of the tunnel. Other times, my tunnel is as dark as the virgin night sky. Though normally, those dark periods are short.


The Chinese word for happiness is kuai le. Kuai means quick, fast, or swift; le means joy. Swift joy. Happiness passes us by very quickly - as quickly as it comes, it goes... unless you know how to keep it with you. Time is also something that passes very quickly when happiness descends.


Cherish the moments while they last - happiness might not last long, but it does exist, and everyone should have happiness in their life. After all, what's life without it?

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