The Happy Freak

I believe in happiness.

Not just serenity.

Not just peace.

Not just every day contentedness.

Happiness.

As much of it as you can possibly get your hands on.

It seems, at times, that most people hope for happy and hang on to content.  My belief in happiness seems to separate me from a good chunk of the rest of the world.

Friends, loved ones and strangers shake their heads at me and scoff at my idealism.  They tell me I’m unrealistic.  They look at me with a disapproving eye that says I’m immature and unaware of the ways of the world.

They cluck their tongues and caution me against the illusion of green grass.

I try to explain that I’m not nearly as interested in my neighbor’s backyard as I am in what’s further up the hill.  They nod as if to suggest that it’s the same thing and they understand.

And I wonder if I’m crazy.  I wonder if I’ve come this far in life on nothing more than foolishness and self delusion.  I wonder if perhaps they are right and I am, inherently, wrong.  I wonder if someday I will grow up and learn to settle and accept and appreciate like they say, and I will regret all of this faith I have put in happiness.

I remember bits and pieces of a high school psychology class – or maybe it was sociology.  It was something about self actualization and levels and I always kind of had the sense that that was what life was like.  Advancing through levels.  Or climbing stairs.  I don’t imagine that there is a top to reach, but I wish people understood that I’m still intent on the same damn stair case and just another step, not a leap from one corner to the next.

I wish they didn’t cluck their tongues at me.

I wish they didn’t apologize for who I am or feel the need to make excuses and allowances for me.

It hurts my heart to see the way they tolerate me.

But it doesn’t hurt enough to back down.

I believe in happiness.

As much as I want the people in my world to understand that, I don’t need them to.  I don’t fault them for being able to revel in contentedness.  I don’t look down on them or pity them.  I’m genuinely thrilled for their peace and serenity.

But I don’t have to take it as my own.

For whatever reason, this is how He made me.  Desperately yearning and constantly seeking.  Reaching.  And while others may not understand, I know that there is a difference between failing to appreciate what’s right in front of you and refusing to settle when you know there is more to be had.

I’m learning to hear my own voice.  I’m learning to discern the difference in tone between the voice that is mine and the voice of those whose approval I long for.

And my voice is loud and clear.

Be Happy.

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Comments

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  1. avitable says:

    It’s not a pipe dream or a fantasy. You will be happy. Anyone who knows you knows that. Or they should.

  2. How often do Avitable’s predictions come true? I want a batting average, so I can feel better.

  3. I don’t think anyone should ever settle for anything in their entire damned lives.

    And settling for less than full happiness only shortchanges you.

    Because you shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting more.

    Because really? Can anyone ever be too happy? Or too content?

    I think not.

    Keep reaching Britt!

    (This comment is not to be confused with people who can’t find contentment in the here and now – those people piss me off. Mostly because they bitch bitch bitch but don’t do a damned thing to make things better. Gah. I’m rambling. Fuck.)

  4. Fantastagirl says:

    Tooo many people put everyone else’s happiness before their own.

    Keep reaching.

  5. ZDub says:

    Everyone deserves to be happy.

  6. RebTurtle says:

    It is an absolute possibility. I can attest to it. Three kids, awesome job, great wife, and I live in Hawaii. 10 years ago, I would have told you God liked to play practical jokes on me. Now, life doesn’t get much better. You’re not a fool for believing. The pursuit of happiness is written into the Declaration of Independence for crying out loud. It is your right as an American! Nobody can take that from you, not even Canadians.

  7. Poppy says:

    I know all too well about being surrounded by people who don’t understand that you want to be happy all day, everyday. I am very sad for them. I love being generally happy again.

    It’s not crazy to return to your natural state. It’s authentic.

  8. Hilly says:

    I don’t necessarily think that the grass is ever greener, however it is different and sometimes “different” is exactly what we need to be happy.

    People won’t always understand your decisions…
    Or like them…
    Or agree with them…
    Or “get” them…

    But they are YOUR decisions and it is YOUR life to lead. Lead it how you will because you only get one and it really should be a happy one.

  9. Kay says:

    For those willing to settle for contentment, that’s enough.
    But if you’re looking for happiness, you can’t be satisfied with contentment… no matter how much you’d like to be.
    And if that’s what you want, what you need… it’s worth reaching for.

  10. ADW says:

    For what it is worth, I have spent the last few years vacillating on whether or not to make a decision to find happiness. In the end, the decision was almost made for me and I am finally at peace. I am still working on the happy, but I think I have a good head start.

    Keep on truckin’ mama.

  11. Sybil Law says:

    Happiness certainly isn’t unattainable, and I wish you the best success in finding what makes you happy. But honestly, the happiest people I know are content, too, so there’s always that. :)

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Sybil Law, I think “happy” and “happiest” can meet a lot of different things.

      I think the happiest people understand what makes them tick and have learned to embrace that.

  12. lceel says:

    I don’t know if I’m going to be able to put this in terms that make any sense or convey the true idea in my head, but it seems to me that ambition and happiness, which always seem to be on opposite sides of the scale, don’t have to be so connected. Why can’t a person be ‘Happy’, but still look for more? Still yearn for better? Does it mean you’re NOT ‘Happy’ if there is still more of the hill to climb? Can one not be ‘Happy’ that one is actually on the hill? And if one were ‘Happy’ that one were on the hill, why would that necessarily mean there was no further drive to get higher?

    It seems to me that happiness, although different for everybody, comes out of being able to look in the mirror and say,”I love who you are”.

    I look at you and I wonder why you don’t understand that. You are, after all, amazing.

    • Miss Britt says:

      @lceel, Happiness comes from knowing that you are on the hill.

      Oh my God, thank you. Thank you for putting into words something that I have been struggling so hard to verbalize.

      Yes. That’s EXACTLY how I feel.

      I don’t feel like “happiness” is a destination. I don’t at ALL feel like “when I get there, then I will be happy” – but I also want to feel like I’m on the damn hill. THAT is what makes me the happiest.

      Thank you.

      Thank you so, so much for this.

      You have no idea.

      Oh – and regarding the “look at you and love who you are and why you don’t understand that”.

      I have moments of that. In a vacuum, I love who I am. I’m PROUD of who I am.

      It’s learning how to hold on to that in the face of misunderstanding and disapproval that I’m working on right now.

  13. Deb says:

    I am so very thrilled that your own voice is loud enough for you to hear it and that you are able to tell the difference between yours and the peoples approval you so desperately seek.

    That is a very wonderful thing! If only we all could do that.

  14. Nanna says:

    You are never EVER “inherently wrong”. And honey, as I’ve said to you before, what would the original Nanna say?

  15. ali says:

    I think the world needs more people like you in it ;)

  16. Finn says:

    Happiness is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Some people can be happy with a comfortable place to light, but others can only truly be happy when they are reaching for everything the world has to offer.

    I believe in happiness, and I believe that you must be happy in order to embrace new experiences. It’s the dreamers that drive the world.

  17. You’re talking about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – where self-actualization is at the top of the pyramid. (Thank you honours Psych degree for letting me remember one random thing)

    Why would anyone want to settle for mediocrity? I think you have an amazing attitude- don’t ever lose it.

    xo

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Princess of the Universe, “Why would anyone want to settle for mediocrity?”

      Because living inside a head like mine is EXHAUSTING.

      Heh.

      (And yes! Maslow! That was it!)

  18. Mrs Soup says:

    Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I always answered “Happy”. I try to find happiness every day and to overall be happy. It is the ultimate goal in life.

  19. Robin says:

    I am trying to find happiness and for me right now it’s hard work but I know I want it and deserve it.

  20. Kris says:

    I thought I was happy once. Then I got had a baby, divorced a cheating husband, and started my own business doing what I love. How silly I was….I now know what happy is and it can only get better. Don’t ever let yourself settle. The fact that you are so aware will lead you to happiness.

  21. Kris says:

    Ok, I just read that. I HAD a baby, not got had a baby. Jeesh!

  22. Peggy Payne says:

    The happiness on this site is delightful, Mis Britt. I was charmed as soon as I saw “Dignity is Overrated.”

  23. whall says:

    Have you tried meth yet, cuz OH MY GOD ITS LIKE HAPPINESS IN A CAN and you’re the currently popular demographic! Wwwhhheeeeeeeee!

  24. Elaine says:

    You’re no freak Miss Britt… I too want to reach better!

  25. Believe, Britt. Ain’t no shame.

  26. Faiqa says:

    Oh, God, I’m not one of the tongue cluckers, am I??!! I think your desire to be happy is important, real and worthy, for the record.

    I don’t however view “content” as settling. Let me see if I can articulate this without coming off like a total jackass…

    Happiness to me is like New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream. It’s wonderful and I love it, but I cannot eat it every moment of every day. I gotta taste some spinach, some salt, some “other”. It’s part of the human journey, in my opinion. To me, contentment *is* what I would like to feel every moment… because then when something bad happens and I’m sad then I don’t feel bad about being sad… I don’t mourn the loss of my happiness because I know it is just one of the flavors of life. My dear friend Contentment reminds me of that.

    I prefer contentment as the background, it’s the canvas of my life… happy is just one of the colors. Yeah, I just switched metaphors (Actually, I went from simile to metaphor <– for ADAM). :) Contentment creates a base for a secure and even keeled existence… the kind of existence that *I* strive for… no dramatic highs and lows because I was over that crap by my late teens and early twenties.

    And, *to me* that is the secret of a beautiful life that I have created and strive to maintain.

    ANYWAY, I do not believe in settling, and I support your decision not to settle for things that you feel lukewarm about. But, as I said, I don't think that's the same as contentment.

    Annnd, I'm sorry about the novel in your comments section.

  27. Faiqa says:

    OMG. I just typed this four paragraph comment that got ate… inspiration to paraphrase… or not.

    My Dear Britt, I get your quest for happiness and I appreciate it. I hope you don’t feel that I fall into the tongue clucker category.

    I do, however, have a different take on the whole happiness thing. Happiness, to me, is one of very many emotions that humans are supposed to feel. I do not hold it in higher esteem than the others. We are all meant to feel anger, disappointment, shame, sadness, even apathy. Each of these emotions have a place and necessity in our lives that spark our growth and push us forward. We must honor and embrace all of them. Resisting emotions only creates internal havoc, IMO.

    I do not believe that contentment is the same as settling. Contentment is the canvas upon which each of the emotions I have mentioned and more must be painted upon… it exists in the background. It, unlike the others, is not an emotion, but the base upon which all of a person’s endeavors are based. It’s the soft feeling (or the voice of God) that whispers, this too shall pass. And that idea applies to happiness, as well. It, too, will pass. And when it does, I want the even keeled secure feeling that it will come again when it is time. I cannot push happiness onto the moments in my life where it does not belong.

    There have been times in my life when I have settled, and I can tell you without a doubt that those times did not bring contentment to my life. Everything that causes me pain, in fact, usually emanates from that “settling.”

    Nonetheless, I appreciate your journey, I respect the validity of what you believe are the “answers,” and I wonder if you wouldn’t be surprised at the number of people who quietly pray that you achieve everything you desire without necessarily vocalizing it… whether they agree with you or not.

    ::Love::

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Faiqa, I actually agree that “happy” is an emotion – and not one I hope to experience every minute of every day.

      I think happiness, like love, is a vocabulary word with vast and varied meanings.

      “I do not believe that contentment is the same as settling.”

      Nor do I.

      But I do think that hearts think differently. Or something. This is a huge, huge concept – too big for a blog comment. :-)

  28. Laura says:

    Just remember…happiness is a perspective and a choice. Only you can decide what that is.

    Coming from a place where I was like that…it caused a separation from my husband for nearly a year because I wanted that life, over there, where I thought I would be happier. Turns out it was just another place to stand in, to look out at all the amazing things life has to offer and still want more. Even after I went back it took me a long time to figure out that it really is just a choice you make.

    Wanting and reaching for more is a wonderful thing and don’t ever stop. Just don’t be so focused on seeing what’s at the top of the next hill that you are forever missing living in the moment because you miss a lot that way. :)

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Laura, “Just don’t be so focused on seeing what’s at the top of the next hill that you are forever missing living in the moment because you miss a lot that way.”

      This is sage advice, and something that someone like me constantly has to work on getting better at.

      I do know, that for me, there has to be a balance between reveling in the moment and standing still. Luckily, I’m naturally inclined to get caught up in the moment. :-)

  29. Ashley says:

    My Mother says that I was born with a “happy gene”. That my positive outlook on life could not have come from my upbringing, which was not a fairy tale.

    I say that happiness is a choice. And a hard road to walk. It is much easier to listen to the negative voices in my head or of our culture or even of my well meaning friends and family. It is hard work to live with joy and humor and happiness. On a daily basis. But if I am going to teach my children to live with joy then I must model living with joy.

    Keep writing and I will keep reading. Peace.

  30. you are not crazy. i also believe in happiness.

    what continues to baffle me is how some people can be happy in situations that would have me jumping from the tallest building. happiness being subjective blows my mind!

  31. charlene says:

    LOL oh britt~i swear i have those same words written in those twenty year old journals somewhere in my attic

    don’t worry~~when you are old as i am, everyone will just think of that poem when they see you coming {or it works for me}
    When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple
    Jenny Joseph

    When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
    With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
    And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
    And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
    I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired And gobble
    up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick
    along the public railings And make up for the sobriety of
    my youth.

    I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
    And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
    And learn to spit. You can wear terrible shirts and
    grow more fat And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
    Or only bread and a pickle for a week
    And hoard pens and pencils and
    beermats and things in boxes.

    But now we must have clothes that keep us dry And pay our
    rent and not swear in the street. And set a good example
    for the children. We will have friends to dinner and read
    the papers. But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
    So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
    When suddenly I am old and start to wear purple.
    ………………….

  32. Lynda says:

    Life is too short to not be happy. That is my mantra.

  33. Al_Pal says:

    I believe in happiness, too. I live a whole lot of joy.
    I hope your near-full-time happiness doesn’t take too long to come back.

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