Friday, January 04, 2008

Random Email to Dani: Epiphany #132 -- Happiness*

Today I had the same epiphany I've been having over and over again all my life, only this time I wasn't smoking weed. Just kidding, I never have ever never smoked weed.

I realized that for some reason, I'm waiting for something to make me happy. To arrive at some point, to finally have no problems, to be comfortable in my own skin. Then I slapped myself. Because violence is my way. Just kidding.

But why do I do that to myself? Be unhappy, I mean. It's not that I'm necessarily UNhappy, it's just that I'm not happy. And by that I mean, I'm not content with what I have. I'm still waiting to be satisfied with the house we bought, like, to feel like it's good enough as it is, that I don't have to keep making improvements. And the house is a metaphor for my own mental/emotional condition, or rather, my life.

Of course, the epiphany seems more profound when it strikes and now it just sounds like the same old crap everyone is always saying, like in books like All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, by the beloved Robert Fulghum (I had this teacher who loved to say his name and quote that book and so it's an inside joke with myself to say his name in relation to beloved). And it's one of those things that doesn't mean a dang thing unless you figure it out for yourself. I'm lucky because I keep realizing it. Over and over, at different times in my life because I forget it really quick, like the proverbial goldfish.

See, what happened is Christy Baugh said she saw a movie called Juno and said I need to see it and said that M____ saw it and told Christy that the girl in it reminded M____ of me (Nicole). Christy said she agreed, and said she thought it was a great compliment. Then I was thinking to myself later on, after I'd read the synopsis of the movie ("A whip-smart high school girl finds out she's pregnant and deals with it blah blah blah" -- I presume the whip-smart aspect is what reminds them of me -- which, who can blame them?) that it's sad, really. I remember being a young whip-smart girl, in junior high and high school and even in college, a girl who unintentionally offended people by saying what was on her mind, who was probably a bit spunky and all that, but who now can't get away with baring that part of personality because she's older and hyperaware of how she offends others, and is hypersensitive herself and thus would NEVER intentionally make someone feel bad.

It's gauche for me to be like that, but not adorable like it is on a young girl (like it used to be on me. Am I delusional? :)). So then I realized that I've been walking around feeling like I'm crippled by my personality, afraid to be that whip-smart girl because I'm not in high school anymore. "This isn't high school, Nikki." Is that a quote from a movie? If it's not, it should be. It would be too funny.

That's when it hit me that I'm waiting for something to happen to make me feel like I've arrived at happiness. But see, happiness isn't a destination. We're the happiness. We're the destination. Happiness should be inside us.

Hmmm. I had such high hopes for that. I thought it could be turned into a proverb or something. It fell kind of flat.

*A slightly edited version of this post appeared in an email to the author's sister, Dani.


Jodie K said...

You can be as whipsmart (and cheeky) as you want to be, at any age (don't need permission for that). You know, was just reading something in the tub last night. It read, "Happiness is fleeting. Joy is not. Happiness is mood dependant. Joy is not." Then I come across your lovely post today.

Jodi said...

I was raised a Unitarian, and when speaking of spirituality, it was always stressed that the value is in the journey. (the journey being, for a unitarian, the truth - regardless of the source. A very personal journey)

Maybe happiness, or better yet, like Jodie K. says, joy, is like that too.

The nicest movie compliment I ever received is when my friends said I was Amélie, from the movie, naturally, "Amélie."

Reeebs said...

Nikki stix, you almost hit it right on the head. Don't focus on the destination, enjoy the trip. Happiness is the trip not the destination. The most enjoyable memories of your house will be of you two building it, and if you're like my family once it's finished you'll move on to another.

Aries327 said...

Jodie K -- It's true what they say about joy and happiness. I don't really understand it, though, because if you asked me if I'm happy in general, I'd say yes. But I could list a bunch of minor things that I'd like to fix or change. Does that mean I'm not happy? And what about joy? I wonder about that. It's hard for me to pinpoint what joy is. Right now. Maybe tomorrow I'll know. In any case, I was being sarcastic about me being whipsmart....I'm not. Really. :) I don't even know what that means...

Jodi -- Maybe you're right about joy. I guess it relies on awareness, and realizing that each moment is unique. These things will pass. From Shadowlands: "The joy now is part of the pain then..."

I liked Amelie. She was obviously adorable.

Bryan -- That's true. About the memories. I don't see how you can enjoy the trip without thinking about your destination.... otherwise you could end up in a swamp....or some place crappy like that...figuratively speaking.

reeebs said...

There's no extreme. You always have the destination in mind, but you can't focus on that alone, or you miss the trip, just as you can't get absorbed in the trip..or you'll end in a swamp. But maybe if the trip made you euphorically happy the swamp would be cool.

Aries327 said...

Thanks Monk Bryan. Grasshopper will remember this lesson.