Happiness is an inside job.
I don’t usually pay attention to the signs outside of churches, but there is a Lutheran church on my running path Up North At The Cabin. In June, this statement stood alone as the weekly message. I was a lot tired and a little bit not in the mood to contemplate Happiness at that particular moment in time, but as the weeks have flown past, the phrase has stuck with me.
I will be the first person to admit that the #100HappyDays hashtag has alternately annoyed and fascinated me. I’ve found that I love to see the Facebook/Instagram updates from close friends because joy shared is joy doubled. The updates from everyone else? Seem narcissistic. If A Happy Day Passes And No One Takes A Photo Of It, Was It Truly A Happy Day?
I mean all of that is probably part of a larger conversation about Digital Natives and how we were raised. For some, maybe happiness is an outside job too.
During a commencement address in 2005, Steve Jobs said, If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?
We are all given the same 24 hours. There are only so many parts of our days that are negotiable. Absent winning the lottery, we are going to have to work. Fantastic metabolism notwithstanding, we are going to have to choose to eat something other than birthday cake for every meal. These are not good or bad things per se. These are not things that absolutely give or take happiness. These are just realities.
So what about Right Now? If you knew that tomorrow you had to hit the pause button and live with exactly what you have, what would you truly need to be happy?
Not want. Need.
I know I am not the only one who finds myself in conversations with friends that run along the lines of, Once I have X, it will be better.
Which is great. Really, it is. Dreams, goals, hopes and wishes are what propel us. They are the fire beneath us. They are our fuel.
If I had to hit the pause button tomorrow, there are only two things I would need. My family. My friends.
If someday we move into the M Family Dream Home, that will be wonderful. If I get a Chanel bag, I will not deny it of its joy-bringing capabilities. If we deign to feast on croissants and fresh jams each morning forever more, who could argue that such a meal would not improve our quality of life?
But really, I just need All Of Those People and enough time to spend with them. The rest of it is just clutter. There is no signal to their arrival, nor is there ever a sign of their departure, because these relationships are not an If, then. These relationships are constant.
There is no one giving you permission to have happiness. Happiness is not a maybe later. Happiness is right now.