Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happiness Defined

Today's Five for Ten topic is happiness. And I'll be honest with you: I don't know what I can say about happiness that hasn't already been said. I'll try anyway:

I suppose happiness is a condition, not a state of being.

Happiness is temporal. It's the balloon bobbing in the breeze just before the release of the string by sticky toddler fingers. It's the beat of anticipation just before the shedding of the wrapping paper. It's found in the click of the minute hand, not the chime of the hour.

It's finite. It's moral. It comes and goes in the space of a breath.

It's found in the detail of the dragonfly wing, the grain of sand, each singular whoosh of heartbeat on the fetal monitor.

It's not to be micromanaged.

It's easily undone.

It's even more easily resurrected.

It's overvalued by the adult: paid for in monthly installments or defaulted loans. It's buried somewhere under the seldom-used ski boat sitting in the driveway and oversized home collecting too much dust.

It's undervalued by the young; a bouncy ball rolling down the chute of a quarter machine, a cookie in a lunchbox, a dog licking one's face.

It's carpe diem.

It's an art form, an expression, a dancer...long and limber.

It should be effortless, but often, it's not.

It's grace personified.

Happiness is not the antithesis of despair.

It doesn't keep exclusive company.

It's rarely earned. (That's satisfaction, which feels even better.)

It's never won. (That's luck, which is just as fleeting but twice as elusive.)

It's often confused with joy. With contentment. With success. With honor. With prestige.

Happiness is always here, never there. It's in the golden moments, in the kitchen with its yellow morning glow, in the flash of the little-kid smile, in the smell of baby shampoo, in the twilight hour as the house settles, in the pant of the dog and the rustle of the leaves on the oak tree outside. It's in the voice of someone you love, the mannerisms you can't live without, the smell of bread baking or ink on paper or soil freshly turned.

It's in sunlight on water and raindrops on the roof and oranges freshly sliced. Coffee on Saturday mornings and blankets in winter.

It's the more. And the less. And the whole. And the want. And somtimes, the wish.

But you already knew all that.

(P.S. I think it's worth mentioning that the photos above were chosen from a file titled 'random family photos' on my C Drive.)

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