I do this all the time, which is why I often have the kind of dizzy, hang-over like headache you experience after riding a loopy roller coaster a dozen times in a row, just because there’s no line. Granted, I may also have a hang over, but I’m almost positive that’s not where the feeling comes from. I ride the waves of my emotions up and down until, lulled nearly into a complete cataleptic-like sleep-state, I am awakened by the sting of salt on wounds from the constant pecking of prolific little scavengers in the water who thought I was dead. I go along for a while, not feeling much, not caring that my life isn’t really what I want it to be. I do my job. I tend to the children. I shower, and eat and smile at the passers by. I drive to work, and feel good that I only hit half of the potholes.
And then it comes rushing back. The longing for more, and the self-reproach for not being happy with what I have. The health of myself, my kids, my parents, and their love to boot. I have a stable job, a roof over my head, and money to fill it with skin-drying heat. I can feed the mouths that open wide when mommy birds returns to the nest, and I can put a new paid of cleats on their feet when a new season of baseball starts. We’re not in any unreasonable amount of danger from car bombs, or government overthrows, or lack of reality TV.
Why does happiness come so easily for some people? Its like they were blessed with a gift for taking things in stride, and seeing light where other’s would scramble around in the dark, screaming for a match. Is it an act? Are some people just better at hiding discontent – or is it something in our genetic make-up that can be altered by the scientific method? Is there an answer to finding happiness?
I think about this a lot. What I need to make me happy. And while I’m not sure I’m even in the right ballpark with my brainstorming for ideas – I do have a pretty good list of things others seem to think will make it all better - but aren’t the answer for me.
Money will never make me happy. And while money can cloth me in finery and make me into something fashionable and chic – no pair of Dolce & Gabbanas can ever warm my heart or give me love, even if they don’t blister my feet. Granted, I can think of many things I want, that cost money I don’t have, and that would probably move me closer to a happy place. Education. Car repairs. A dishwasher that doesn’t leak. Professional hair stylist. But in the end, being wrapped in warmth and radiance cannot be bought at the Clinque counter in Macy's.
And no other person can ensure my happiness. No matter how much I love my children, and my parents and friends – not one of them is responsible for creating my ideals, changing my mood, or accomplishing my goals. None of them can crawl into the holes I dig inside myself, where I store the emotions like nuts in the fall. Not one person can hold me til the day I die and never get up to pee. It’s just unreasonable to expect happiness to depend 100% on another human being, and to think that they will be the same forever. People that expect "the one" to make them happy for all of their days, is the person who is hit hardest by death, divorce and their own reflection in the mirror.
Chocolate does not make me happy. Wine provides only momentary desenstizing. Sex was a momentary band aid, and one that peel off in the bathtub long ago. I could go on, but the list of Non-Answers is long. But I'm beginning to think I should’ve started with a definition.