In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Happy Happy Joy Joy.”
It’s nice to imagine someone concocting a magic recipe for happiness, but it’s also unrealistic. Happiness isn’t universal, and therein lies its beauty- there are as many unique combinations of looks and tastes and feels that produce happiness as there are people. I do believe, however, that some ingredients are universal; I think love, family, and personal success are important to the happiness of all the people I know. But how do you define “love”, “family”, or “personal success”?
Love: There’s romantic love, and I’m working on figuring that part out for myself. There’s love for my family and friends, which I’ll get into further below. There’s love for humanity as a whole. And then there’s self-love.
The road to self-love is dark and twisted, and I hit such lows along the way that I genuinely did not believe there was a destination beyond the valley I was mired in. I see that destination now, however, and it’s close enough that I feel like I can get there if I just reach a little harder. That’s my goal, my job, my work – to keep reaching. To pull myself out of the swamp and onto dry land. The difficulties I’ve faced along the way are my teachers, and their instruction will help me through all the future obstacles I’ll encounter.
Family: First, there’s the concept of the nuclear family – mother, father, children. My own nuclear family is far more complicated than that, but yes – my relationships with my parents and with my sisters make me happy, especially as I’ve grown older.
Then, there’s the family I chose – my friends. It’s not that my friendships make me happy. It’s more like it’s possible for me to be happy because I have such wonderful friends. These are people I can run to for advice on anything, from online dating to how to make chicken soup to going into therapy. These are people I learn from every single day.
Personal success: At first, it was simply defined as independence. I wanted to be beholden to no one but myself. And I most especially did not want to be beholden to my family. That now strikes me as a young and foolish way of thinking. I owe everything, from my sheer existence to the strength of my determination, to factors beyond my control. And I need to consider myself not beholden, but grateful. Grateful to be alive, grateful for the chances I’ve been given, grateful to know and to receive and to give love.
We’re all beholden to each other.