Shallow Joys

Dearest Friend,

I’ve had an entire week to mull over the meaning of happiness. Last week, I was so happy that when it was time for me to write my usual Friday blog thing, I ended up writing incoherently. Writing when I’m happy is difficult. I’m more accustomed to parsing thoughts and feelings of sadness, which is why absolute contentment shocks me.

This week, however, the happy hormones have died down, and I am back to my usual self.


So. I’ve been thinking on what happiness, for me, is. Based on all my observations so far, I’m happy when something good happens to me. When I’ve had a good date with my girlfriends. When I’ve seen a great, uplifting movie. When I’ve read something profound. Happiness, or my understanding of happiness, has always been caused by an external factor. That must be why it’s so alien and so tiring, whenever I experience it. It’s not an organic creation of my head. It’s from societal influences, or whatever. Self-help books will tell you that perspectives like that are not healthy.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to be happy from the inside. It’s easier said than done, especially because I am the way I am and because we happen to live in a world where melancholy is romanticized. With regards to my external happy influences though, I’ve realized it’s not so bad to let myself be swept away by them. Happiness, by definition, should be something that erases everything else away, anyway.

I realized this because of Zi. We were at Binondo to celebrate the Lunar New Year when I went to buy a bubble maker – just one of those cheap PhP50 toys. After a few minutes of collaborative effort, Zi and I finally got the bubble maker to make bubbles, and I felt so happy just watching them damn bubbles float. It filled me with such raw contentment that again, I began to question my reasons for being happy.

Shallow, I branded myself. I’m so shallow; shallow things make me happy – I’m like a kid.

To which Zi promptly said, Isn’t that what happiness is? Shouldn’t happiness be shallow – shouldn’t the smallest joys make you laugh? If human happiness isn’t meant to be shallow, what should make you happy then? A job promotion? A million pesos? True love? If so, you’re only going to be happy a handful of times in your life. That would suck.

I’ve been thinking about it. She may be right.


Photo (C)


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