I am not, by inclination, what you would call a happy person. Many of my friends are the type of people who seem to naturally exude pure joy, but I guess my chemical makeup has made it that my smile makes an appearance in less organic ways.
I was complaining one day to someone (most likely my sister) about how the nature of my job is so dependent on others, in that the subject of everything I write is always about someone else. I mean, obviously.
That being the case, I’m pretty much always making a call or waiting on one. I rely on whomever my source is at the time to give me the information I need about a crime, natural disaster, new city ordinance, milestone, scandal, etc.
But when that one person I need either doesn’t pick up or isn’t available, I can’t move forward in my writing. Maybe, just maybe, the story I’m writing about–you know, the one about how many fire-jugglers at a small liberal arts school in Fiji had full scholarships in 1932–has to be put on hold because the one source who would actually know that is out on vacation, the very day of my deadline. And then the newspaper has one less interesting story because of the hold-up.
Of course I’m not saying that everyone has to NOT ever get sick, go on holiday or take a day off for any other reason just because it’d be more convenient for people like me, but it is kind of scary to think that a lot of what I’m tasked with depends so much on another person.
I think the same goes for our levels of happiness, unfortunately.
I wonder, for people like me, why is our happiness—or better yet, our mere contentedness—so dependent on others?
Maybe it boils down to why we consider a good day a “good day.”
For example, this week…
– I ordered a coffee with soymilk and the barista didn’t roll his eyes or give any indication that my request is probably oh-so-typical and pretentious-sounding of health-conscious Californians
– No one was [that] rude on the phone with me
– I got called to serve jury duty, but the powers that be are at least letting me choose what day I come in to serve
– A boy told me I looked nice
– Traffic didn’t completely suck
– Gas prices don’t make me want to cry as much as they did a few months ago
So what is the secret to being happy in spite of or even during all the above events? I don’t actually have an answer, but perhaps some small part of me thinks it has to do with how we feel when we’re by ourselves, far away from the people who have the ability to either make our day or make it epically fail.
If you strip away your makeup/hair gel, the degree, the job, the reputation, the relationship and perhaps whatever rumors may be circling, what remains?
I end this not with a concrete answer because I have none, but with a quote from a Simon Pegg movie because let’s be honest, British films are the bomb dot com:
“We should concern ourselves, not so much with the pursuit of happiness, but with the happiness of pursuit.”