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Monday, 29 April 2013

About Happiness

This morning, my neighbour found his first grey hair.
 
For an hour he dragged himself through the street as though he had turned into a retired Jewish Rabbi.
 
Then he made the decision he was going to be George Clooney and everything was alright again.
 
This is all I have to say about happiness: it's a decision.
 
Happiness is utterly predictable: if you want it, you get it.

It's nothing but redirecting your gaze from the darkness to the light. 

And let's stop there. Thousands of books have been written about this theme and the Internet is saturated with it. On billboards and in magazines pensioners are laughing and throwing autumn leaves in the air, thus happy they are with their pension plan. Happiness is pouring out of the TV and the radio. On Facebook the world seems hysterically happy.

What could I possibly add to that?

You'd wonder: what's so wrong with un-happiness? With sadness? With frustrations, complexes, depressions, feelings of inadequacy, alienation, loneliness?
 
These are humans emotions too. They provide our depth. How is it that we no longer accept them? Do we all have to become billboard figures?

They are there for a reason. If you wish to be a complete human, do not skip them, nor suppress them, nor wish them gone.

You can't impossibly enjoy the views from a summit, if there are no valleys.

My mum used to suddenly realise and declare: "Today I am really unhappy". She would then go up the stairs, lock herself up with a cup of tea, a candle, tissues, the Requiem of Mozart, and cry her eyes out for an afternoon. To come down the stairs shining and happy as a reborn person. "So, that was nice", as though she had really enjoyed it.

She sometimes seemed to regret she was not a pure melancholic, like my father, or eternally depressed, like my brother, or suffering from sleep deprivation, like my uncle.

To her, that was the material of the great writers, of the great composers, of the philosophers and poets. The thinkers, without whom there would not have been any civilisation.

Are you unhappy? Good for you. It is one of the countries you have to travel through to get to happiness, as well a beautiful country in itself, full of contrasts and shades of blue and grey. Unhappiness can make you happy.

However, one day you too might suddenly find yourself on the sunny side of the street. Or simply decide to start walking there.

It's far easier than quitting smoking.




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