How to be Happy Right Now (#31writenow, #nablopomo)

by P. Braithwaite

I wake up most mornings sad. Maybe melancholy is a better word? On some days I wake up quietly sad; the feeling is a whisper drowned out by other feelings. On other days, the sadness is resounding — pain in my chest, heaviness in my heart. The sadness lives in every exhale — intertwined with my breath. Sometimes the sadness is palpable.

And yet, despite how I wake up, almost every night I go to bed peaceful, happy, and full of gratitude. I go to sleep knowing I am loved.

This dichotomy is teaching me some lessons.

I am learning to expand my definition of happiness to include a little sadness. I am learning that, to embrace life fully, I must allow all emotions to move through me. This means I must allow them to arrive and I must learn to let them go. I am learning that life is a series of choices and perspectives — I can embrace whatever I choose whenever I choose it.

Often we create stringent definitions of happiness. Happiness becomes a rubric, a detailed list of things that must be present AND absent. A job, a partner, no bills, a bonus check —our happiness often hinges on things we cannot control. And, as a result, we end up controlled by the things we cannot change.

Happiness becomes this metaphorical vacation we’ll take when everything that plagues us finally cooperates. But that’s not the way life works. Life doesn’t always unfold the way we want it.

And so, to live a happy life, one must budget for moments of sadness. One must embrace moments of discomfort. We must learn to live and transition comfortably between peaks and valleys. That’s where all the living happens, in the movement between milestones.

That’s were the real happiness resides.

And so it is.