The Pursuit of Happiness: A personal write-up!

What motivated me to write an article with the title as such, is a ‘smiley-faced’ sticker that came along with today’s newspaper (see below). I’ve always wondered how the word ‘happiness’ works with different people. Isn’t it more about perspective? Damn right it is. Let’s start with the definition: “Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” Hand-picking the right words from this statement is quite easy. ‘Positive’, ‘Pleasant’, ‘Contentment’, ‘Joy’. Do all this alone constitute happiness?

I keep seeing picture-quotes on Facebook & Instagram that go like this: Happiness is a warm puppy. Happiness is also expensive shit like diamond rings, so on and so forth. What we seem to forget here entirely, is the context. A cute puppy is by all means happiness re-defined for me. But for someone who is allergic to dogs or animals altogether, is that a happy moment? Same applies to diamond rings. Maybe, it does sound charming in an instance of someone proposing to the the love of his life, but do you think gifting that special one a diamond ring is the ONLY WAY to immerse in happiness? Fuck, I don’t know ’bout you but something as small n’ simple as a shawarma can induce happiness in me.

Let’s look at other classic situations. For a young cancer patient, what would be the ultimate form of happiness? Getting to know that his/her cancer can be cured? Of course! Everything else would simply appear inconsequential.

Happiness can even simply be getting to take a piss after holding up for a long time. The ‘Aaaaah!’ exclamation made while this takes place expounds pure bliss, right? I’m not too sure if many would beg to differ. I’m sitting in an office full of people while I write this article, in the process, trying to define my own sense-of-happiness. For me, it is not merely the state of well-being. It is well-being plus contentment plus the feeling of being surrounded by people or things that exude positivism.

So the question is: Am I truly happy? The answer is subjective rather than clear-cut. I feel happy when I plan my weekend, where I am gonna go, what events I am gonna attend, what food I am thinking of trying out, what kind of people I am gonna meet; all this excites me. Planning a holiday is a state of ‘happiness-knows-no-limits’. But it ain’t something so frequent, right? Can I limit my happiness to something that occurs maybe once or twice a year? NO! If I have to keep myself going, I need my daily dose of simple joys. I work a strict 8-5 back-end Accounting desk-job with two day weekends. Most of the times, I feel psychologically drained and exhausted hearing people complain about other people in the office. It is definitely a factor that drives me nuts at times. Sometimes, I need to take a long walk or have an ice-cream sundae after work just to redeem myself. Don’t judge me. It is just my way of turning the day around. Dubai, as a place, has definitely contributed to promoting happiness during those instances where people around me have been downright disappointing.

The art-based events, the cafes, outdoor cinema, the food and drinks, the live-concerts, the crowd that enjoys random conversations, the places with amazing views, all have played an immense role in imparting happiness. But there is also a part in me that is highly attached to nature. And I cannot compare the ‘happiness’ I get by looking at huge patches of lush green, which is something lacking in this part of the world, and is available in abundance in my beautiful state of Kerala. Joy knows no bounds when my flight lands on the tarmac of Trivandrum International Airport.

Hence, I can attribute my happiness to a lot of things and places rather than just one person, or a group of people, or just people alone. I find this quote by Will Smith apt for this scenario: “Don’t chase people. Be yourself, do your own thing and work hard. The right people – the ones who really belong in your life – will come to you. And stay.” So, hold on to those things in life that influence you positively and increase your happiness quotient even by just 1%. It could be something as trivial as feeding stray animals that you come across, listening to up-beat music, watching a brilliantly made film, reading a book, attending an art-fair or nature camp or photography class, learning a new language, playing street soccer, swimming at the beach, helping out a friend in need, giving directions to a stranger; things like these may not benefit you at all (monetarily or non-monetarily) prima facie, yet keep an eye out for them as they enrich your inner self in the long run.

I’m sure everyone has their own little ways of rejuvenating themselves on a daily basis. We just need to make sure that those seemingly negligible factors continue to retain their positions in our life. An average Joe (like myself) cannot keep hoping for promotions at work, frequent raises in remuneration, or expect long holidays to exotic lands every now and then. We need to learn to enjoy the little things as well. Do not wait for someone or something or a pre-planned moment for happiness to enter your life. Man up, and make it happen today. You could start well..*looks at watch* right this very second! 🙂

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