As I planted my butt down on the grass at the dog park this morning, I pulled out my notebook and I started to write in it, as I do daily.
I got caught off guard when I saw my dog, previously whining at 6AM for me to get out of bed, now rolling in the freshly cut grass, diving head first after a stick someone else threw.
He had dirt stains on him from his nose to his wagging tail, as some other human hanging out at the dog park on a Monday morning started to pet him, causing his tail to create a breeze.
This dogs tail tells me everything about his personality!
I smiled back, watching my dogs tail make waves of motion, watching his drool drip from his tongue to his paws, watching him in this state of happiness I’ve seen numerous times before.
He was right, this random guy at the dog park that I don’t know the name of. His tail says more about him than his leaps after sticks and his excitement when he hears food falling into his bowl. His wagging tail defines him as a happy dog, or at least that’s what I’ve heard.
I sat there for an hour or so thinking. I was supposed to be writing, finishing a deadline I had for an article. I was supposed to be moving my fingers across a keyboard or staining a paper with my pen, but instead, I sat there. Instead, I thought about life and what defines happiness.
A smile? A laugh? Good skin color?
I’m not a doctor, not a psychiatrist, not a therapist or any sort of person who diagnoses things for others, so naturally – I had no answer (are you surprised?) which is normal for me. I don’t know is my go-to while my mind wanders for hours before I write it down at night on this platform I created.
I’m better at writing than I am at speaking, it’s a fact, and I’m better at expressing myself in ink (or on a keyboard) than I am in person. I’m better, at life, with a pen and a piece of paper. And a mind that never stops, which you wouldn’t know if you met me, unless you could magically get in there somehow.
So, after thinking, after watching, after wondering.. and wondering.. and wondering, I finally decided.
It’s not on google. Happiness isn’t something you can search the web for, hoping for a list of numbered answers to pop up. (There are some of those that you’ll come across, so you can I guess, but that’s not where you’ll find it.)
Happiness comes from unhappiness, from lost moments, from going to fast then slowing down. From watching the tail instead of doing the work.
It’s hard to live in pure happiness every single day. Which is crazy, isn’t it? It should be easy. It should be something that comes naturally, but the God’s honest truth is, it just doesn’t (not always). You have to work for it sometimes, and I think that’s where we all get lost. We all want happiness all the time, every single day, without the tears and the breakdowns over spilled tea on the new white rug. We try so hard, occupying our minds in thoughts, that we forget to let it in. We get happy about something that came along, something good that happened, and then we crash again. Then we fail, un-remembering the happiness we just had and let slip away.
We get so high on good things happening, on life going in the right direction, on the rug being so clean. We get stuck on the feeling that we continue to load on more tasks to make it continue, until one day it all becomes too heavy for our bodies to handle, and then it crashes to the ground, staining the rug from the burn.
I’ve recently found that my anxiety has been worse – then better – then worse again. I thought as I got older it would subside, but I was wrong. I’ve seen myself first handedly get upset about being upset.
I shouldn’t feel like this, I’m only 24 years old.
I know. A 24-year-old writing about her anxiety online. In notebooks she buys at random shops in New Orleans. On paper with torn off corners. A 24-year-old spilling her thoughts on happiness.
What does she know?
I don’t know, that’s the thing. But do you? Do you know the secret to happiness and all the directions you are supposed to take in order to be happy for an entire life, every single day, with no breakdowns? With no cookies being entirely eaten in one sitting and then regretted?
My take on happiness, as a 24-year-old with an on-going mind, a chest full of tightness, a lot of real smiles on many of the days, a few tears on others, breakdowns on some, more smiles on the rest, is that you need to take it slow. Baby steps, really. Baby steps to happiness. Baby steps to life.
Happiness, I’ve learned many of the times, comes from unhappiness. I realize, at my worst state, what I actually want and what I don’t. I realize how to slow down. How to wake up and drink the tea, how to spill it on the rug and clean it up. How to eat the cookies and not regret them (kind of). Then how to drink the lemon water the next day.
I realize a lot from messing up, from doing things I’m ‘not supposed to be doing,’ from taking the wrong path on the wrong day.
I should be at Y but I’m only at X.
Forget the Y. Forget the X. Forget the alphabet. Be where you are. Present.
This morning, my happiness came from putting my passion down and watching the tail wag. Tonight, it came from writing it down.
Find your happiness and go with it. Live it out. Cry on some days, failing at your passion, then smile on others, because at least you have one.
But, what do I know?
What about you guys? xx