“Maybe happiness is neither ahead of us or behind us.
Maybe it somewhere in between;
right in the midst of this moment, here and now!”
“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!” Do you remember that little tune? I think I first heard it at a summer camp. While the memory of when and where is distant, my reasons to be clapping have significantly increased over the past few months. Likewise, my understanding of happiness has shifted and much of what I once took for granted now brings me a sense of happiness. Why the change?
Happiness itself is a nebulous concept. It is very personal, and constantly subject to redefinition. What constitutes or brings about happiness in one situation, or at a point in our lives, may have little meaning at another. In fact, the memory of a previous period of happiness may trigger sadness or depression in the current moment. Hence, I like to think of happiness as a continued quest or journey. Each of us have and will continue to experience multiple opportunities to experience and enjoy moments of happiness; the key is rediscovering them.
Some would say that finding happiness over the past year has been difficult. I disagree! It’s not that the opportunities for happiness vanished, it is simply the fact that we were unable to do many of the things that brought us happiness in the past. As we think about it, there is a lesson to be learned; we cannot live in the past or seek happiness from time gone by. Rather, we learn, we celebrate and we embrace our past. Our happiness is to be found in the moment and in our future.
Regardless of what is happening in the world, there is one constant; time continues. Think about what you have learned about happiness over the past year; the laughter and enjoyment of a family game night, using Zoom or another form of media to connect with friends whom you might have otherwise never seen again and the happiness that was found in being transported to another world through the pages of a book. As time moves forward, how can you bring those past moments of happiness with you and not relive them, but use them to set the stage for new and better moments.
For the past seventeen years the Brood X cicadas have been living underground preparing to tunnel their way to the surface. It was about two weeks ago that they emerged in our area, shed their exoskeleton on trees and other surfaces and took to the skies in search of mates. Over the next four to five weeks the cicada’s hum, sounding like a tiny maraca shaken at high speed, will fill the air. During that time they will mate, lay the eggs for Brood XI and die. One entomologist referred to it as a short, sweet and happy life.
Figuratively it could be said we know what it looks and sounds like when cicadas are happy. What does happiness look and sound like for you? Among so many other things for me, it’s seeing the faces and listening to the laughter of three wolf pups, its hearing a muffled click and watching my golf ball land far out on the fairway, and it’s sitting on a candle-filled deck, enjoying the night’s stillness as the hum of the cicadas’ chorus fills the air. Find happiness!
Embrace the Challenge !