Earlier this week, someone I was having coffee with asked me point blank as soon as we sat down with our cuppas: “Are you happy? Truly happy with your life as it is at the moment?” (You must be wondering where am I getting all these people from, whom are meeting me and throwing me weird random questions all the time).
I hesitated for a split second in my answer, not because I wasn’t sure if I was happy or not. I knew the answer to the question was a resounding “YES!”. I hesitated because I felt guilty that I was happy, almost like it was criminal to feel this way with the world going to pieces (Trump – oh yeah, North Korea, Russia, China, recession, and a lot of unhappy, sad, angry people that you read about in the newspapers and social media all the time).
In fact I wasn’t just happy. I was actually really joyful. The kind of joyfulness that invokes a silly grinning from cheek to cheek once in a while even when I am alone by myself. Even when my life is pretty much bursting at the seams with 4 kids and a graveyard shift of a 10-16 hour work night, pops of joy would stir up within me. And last I checked, I am perfectly sane and normal, not delusional and haven’t lost my marbles yet.
I would bet you though that I am not the only one who feels this way – a tinge of guilt at being happy. Society seems to encourage us to follow a certain beat in life – when you look at the people in the crowd, most people sit or stand or walk glum or stoic or solemn. There will be the occasional couple or cluster of students who are smiling or laughing together. But NO ONE (or almost no one) ever seems to be sitting or standing or walking alone smiling or grinning to themselves.
And even if one is happy, put a mask on one’s face and keep the light under a bush lest people around one start to smell the happiness and want to eject one like an undesirable virus that the body has caught. When I go for my runs grinning from ear to ear, it’s funny to observe how some people absolutely try so hard not to make eye contact and smile back. There was even a person who did make eye contact and then was trying so hard to keep the corners of his mouth from twitching upwards. Why deny themselves a moment of happiness transfer?
I will continue to feel guilty about feeling happy for quite a while I reckon and that is not going to stop me from wearing my smile on my face wherever I go. So if you happen to see a random stranger smiling at you down the path, smile back – it might be me. Always Trust Magic!