I was talking to one of my friends the other day when they said something profound. Friends tend to do that more often than we notice. They said happiness wasn’t something you felt; rather, it as something you noticed. Happiness was like an elusive rabbit that you chased in the forest. You could see glimpses of it provided you paused. It always got the better of you. It was a fifteen-minute window every day, at best, where you saw happiness. I think my friend was onto something.
I spent too much time in my head, but I learned that happiness wasn’t going to wait for me to be ready or okay. We humans, we revelled in sadness and agony and angst. The more we craved happiness or purpose, the more fleeting and nimble it became. The trick was to stop running. It tended to walk up to you. Even if it didn’t, you could notice it rustling the leaves nearby.
Often, you found happiness in the tiniest of moments. It was in walking your dog, cribbing over it, not knowing it was the last time he dragged you to smell a turd in the grass. It was in laughing with someone between the kisses, being blatantly young. It was in going to sleep holding them, and waking up to say goodbye, possibly forever.
Happiness was in sitting with friends in the golden hour, talking all sorts of bullshit years before life touched any of you. It was in watching the sun fall on a familiar face, unaware that the next time you saw them, their skin would be lifeless and pale. It was in sitting in a regular, bustling café, without any knowledge of the fact that you’d be locked inside your house alone for months. Only to finally come out and see it shuttered down forever.
Happiness gave you a tiny opportunity to notice itself before it disappeared amidst the foliage of sadness and confusion. It came, and it raised its ears, and if you missed it then, it ran off. Happiness gave you some fifteen minutes between your running and all things important in the world. Sometimes, it stuck around longer provided you knew how to sit still.
Just look, without wanting it, without looking for it. If you were lucky and if you were still, it stared at you, right in the eyes.