What is happiness? During my often painful and infinite search through Netflix this evening, I stumbled upon the Simon Pegg film, Hector and the Search for Happiness (or something like that). It’s not an amazing movie or anything, but it’s kind of a light, and entertaining film and it does make you think: what is happiness? Better yet, are you happy?
Now, in general, I like to think of myself as a pretty easy going bloke. One that doesn’t allow life to pester me too much into annoyance or bouts of depression. That being said, life is a complicated creature that seems intent on constantly distracting you from simply enjoying your time on this big spinning rock we call Earth. Whether it’s fear of something, taking care of someone, or sweating the little imperfections, it seems there’s always something to give you a “but.” I’m happy, but. I would be happy, but. But isn’t always bad, but it is almost always a tell of a distraction.
I have many buts in my life. A lot of happy, a lot of love, but a lot of buts (see what I did there). My biggest but is usually comparing the person I thought I would be to the person I am. No, no. Not even that, it’s comparing the success I thought I would have to what I actually have. It’s a cruel game, comparing. I am rarely envious of what someone else has, whether it’s more money, or a bigger house, kids, or whatever it is. But the one comparison I heed to is the vague, ambiguous comparison of me against the thirty-seven year old my fifteen year old would have conjured up.
There’s a sweet irony to this cruel but, and that is that I’m not even particularly fond of that fifteen year old version of myself, yet, I’m constantly trying to impress that teenage kid in me. That shy, naive kid was looking out at the world like it was there for the taking. And, it was…it is, but what that fifteen year old never understood was what happiness was. He was so consumed with looking ahead, he never stopped to look around.
I try to look around now. Sometimes I look too close and stress the really, really small stuff. For instance, I’m staining my concrete because I was sick of the ugly, dog-worn carpet in our house, and it looks good…but. But there are these few small spots where the stain didn’t get spread quite even and they look a bit sparse or dripped versus an even distribution. It looks good, but it’s not perfectly imperfect as I saw that perfect going. This is an extremely minute example, but that’s what makes it perfect. I have a nice home, am taking on projects myself and doing okay with them, and have a beautiful wife, a cool-ass little dog and was just able to enjoy a prolonged vacation in Colorado, one of the most beautiful states in the country. But it’s this few, small, less than a few inch spaces that are impeding my moment of bliss as I sit here on my couch watching another Netflix movie.
Now, recognizing this stupidity, I am happy. And that’s what we live for, right? The moments. Life is a blur, the day to day is living, but the moments are the happiness. I’ve always tried to live by the Verve song, Lucky Man, because there’s a lyric in it, “happiness, more or less, it’s just a change in me, something in my liberty” and it’s something that I need to remind myself of and make the choice to see the happiness through the buts in life.
All that being said, it’s kind of a cute little movie.