Illusive Happiness?

    This is more a brief essay than a story. It's about a subject I've been thinking
about lately and I decided to write something. I was quite Happy to do so.

    It all started with a squeaky clothes dryer. It had squeaked loudly with every use for months and my darling husband promised to fix it, but just never seemed to have the time. This weekend he trudged into the house with a toolbox and a carton of parts and announced that the dryer would soon be fixed. He was good to his word. That afternoon I loaded a washer full of damp clothes into the dryer, closed the door and hit the switch. I closed my eyes waiting for the familiar wailing squeak to start, but all I heard was the quiet hum of the drum tossing shirts and socks.

    So profound was my happiness at being rid of that horrid sound, that upon reaching the top of the stairs and finding my daughter standing there I proceeded to dance a little jig with her, while gaily singing, "Ding-dong the squeak is gone, the wicked squeak is gone!" To which she, of course replied, "Oh for Pete's sake, Mom, get a life!"

    That little incident got me thinking of happiness in general. How many of us spend our lives in search of elusive Happiness, with a capitol "H"? When I finally get my degree I will be Happy. When I make more money I will be Happy. If I can just loose some weight I will be Happy. The list is endless. We spend so much of our lives watching and waiting for the big all-consuming Happiness, that we don't even recognize all the little happinesses along the way. That fact struck me as rather sad, so I decided to grab a pen and paper and write down all the small things that brought me happiness just in that one day.

    To get myself started I wrote down the most obvious happy thing for that day. List item number one....My dryer doesn't squeak. I thought back to the beginning of my day and item number two became.... I got to sleep in this morning. Now I know that doesn't sound like much so far, but all the little happinesses count here.

    First thing on waking up I was greeted with a big, wet, sloppy puppy kiss, so I gave my puppy a huge hug in return. He is so warm, soft and sweet. That was a happy moment. Later, when I stepped out of the bathroom after my shower, my thoughtful husband had a steaming cup of tea and a giant blueberry pancake waiting for me. It's great to have a husband who loves to cook on weekends. I think that should count as a double happiness.

    After breakfast my daughter and I took the puppy for a short walk. My daughter told me a silly joke that made me laugh until my sides hurt; we saw a pair of American goldfinches and the puppy actually heeled. Why that's three happinesses right there.

    When I had finished writing out my list of happy things it had become quite a long one. I filled two sides of a couple of sheets of loose-leaf with happy moments. I thought fleetingly of writing out a gripe list to go with it, just for comparison, but I just wasn't in the mood. I was so darn happy! I felt like breaking out in song again!

    How often do we go through a day not even noticing our little happinesses? We complain about the weather, we gripe about work and fuss over some perceived rudeness, all the while wondering if we'll be Happy. We dwell on the negative, so much so, that we fail to see that all those hundreds of wee happinesses add up to one major Happiness. We just don't get that we're already Happy, for crying out loud.

    As for me, I intend to keep dancing little jigs and singing silly songs, with or without a life. Isn't that what Happiness is all about? Maybe I should learn to tap dance too.

Charmaine V.
Copyright © May 31, 2004
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