When will happy happen?

I’m feeling philosophical. Maybe because I just finished proofing my big brother’s philosophy paper, most of which I did not at all understand. Maybe because mercury-in-retrograde just ended, and it was a doozy (I had never even heard of mercury retrograde until a couple of weeks ago, but let me tell you, the last three weeks have made me seriously reconsider my astrology snarkiness). Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness, and mostly I’m wondering, what is it and when the hell will it get here?

Of course, the moment I ask myself this question I remember that I’ve had lots of moments of happiness, and I know that that’s all happiness is: a moment, not a state of being. Appreciating happiness means having the presence of mind to soak it in when that moment is occurring and to wait for it patiently – without making yourself miserable – in its absence. But even better is the ability to create it. So I guess I’m in need of a few ideas for creating happiness. For me, there’s running. And cooking. Sometimes writing and reading, but those – like loving – are complicated.

I’d most love to hear how you guys are creating happiness. Because you, after all, are the ones who’ve created a lot of mine. And in the meantime, while I’m trying to be patient, I’m going to share some pictures of the faces (and memories) that have created a lot of happiness so far.

(If you don’t see yourself – Ali, I’m especially referring to you – it’s probably because I have ten thousand pictures of your adorable kids, and you with your kids, but none without kids, which means I can’t post them. Which ALSO means I obviously need to see you soon and take some postable pics!)

Emily, classing up Cafe Sabarsky in NYC.

Christy, Mandi, Molly (and me, laughing like an idiot on my 33rd birthday)

Sledding somewhere in the Tetons with Joe & the dogs. It's a terrible picture, but I just love it when the dogs hide under my legs like this.

The big brother. See how philosophical?

My pals at The Usual, Prospect Heights. I miss you guys. And your pancakes.

Evan's, um ... 23rd birthday!

Molly at MoMA

Mark gives me maybe the best birthday present ever, a trip to Napa.

Shelley and Liz! And Jack's in there too! This is the only picture of him I'll ever put up here, I swear.

Oh wait. I remember now. Shelley + karaoke = happiness.

Carol and her new favorite drink.

Not having to run anymore is equally as happy, in some cases, as getting to run in the first place. Right, Katie?

Thanksgiving with Mom in Santa Fe

Angie and burrito the size of her head. Obvious joy.

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5 thoughts on “When will happy happen?

  1. I totally know what you mean. I have so many people and moments in my life that make me very very happy, but it always feels like something is missing. And then there is the question: How do you generate happiness?
    Lately, gardening, getting a little bit of a sunburn and being productive on the weekends has made me much happier. Perhaps you should come garden with me?

  2. You’ve got to accentuate the positive…eliminate the negative…latch on to the affirmative, don’t mess with Mr. In Between (sing it with me now!…and eat something that is the size of your head…instant happiness!)

    In all seriousness, I struggle with the appreciation of a moment, daily…and if you don’t appreciate the things that make you happy, then really, what is the point?

  3. Molly, I would LOVE to garden with you, provided that you won’t be mad when I very possibly kill all of plants. It won’t be on purpose. It’s just a talent I have. And yes, I guess that was my question … when will we all realize that NOTHING’S MISSING? How do we just let go and be happy? Happiness really is a conscious act of creation, I’ve decided. I will take you up on the gardening idea SOON.

    And just so that everyone knows, Angie didn’t actually eat the whole head-sized burrito. I told her she could take it down, but she totally wussed out.

  4. Since you’re feeling philosophical, here is Aristotle’s take on the question you ask.

    Happiness is an activity. Therefore, you are either doing it or you are not. This is a choice that you make.

    The particular activity that is happiness (“eudaimonia” in the Greek) is the use of your rational powers in pursuit of excellence. When you are devoted to striving toward the achievement of your own personal excellence, you are happy. When you are doing anything else, you are not.

    “Eudaimonia,” by the way, has two different root words in the Greek: “eu-“, which means “good” (cf. Tolkien’s neologism “eucatastrophe“); and “daimon,” which is a kind of personal protective spirit. The Greeks thought that the daimon rode on your shoulder, so that you couldn’t see your own: only others, looking at you, could see the face of your daimon.

    The wrong way to read this concept is therefore that some people are born with lucky spirits, who protect them. The right way is that there is a way to make your guardian spirit happy, and that is by pursuing your own excellence at all times, and with all your vital powers.

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