What is happiness? True happiness starts with you – not your relationships, not with your job, not with your money, but with you. According to the Coca-Cola Company, “Open an ice cold coca-cola and choose happiness”. As John Lennon once said, “When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘Happy’. They told me I did not understand the assignment. I told them that they did not understand life”.
When I was a small child around five, I used to find happiness in the smallest things in life. I still remember the day when I woke up and could not find my mother at home as she had gone out to a nearby shop to buy some urgently needed grocery. I was in despair. She came back in a little while and on seeing her I was deliriously happy.
When I became a teenager, happiness came from more exciting events like going to the picnic with school friends wearing a saree borrowed from my mother, or singing at a function or even mundane things like walking in the Rabindra Sarobar Lake when the Gulmohar trees were in full bloom. Happiness was when I took an exam and on opening the question paper, found that I knew all the answers or seeing my mother smile or spending Sunday with my parents eating the delicious dishes prepared by mother.
Happiness was also giving anjali during Durga puja or pandal hopping with friends wearing a new dress every day and of course saving the best one for Navami. Happiness was when I found that my dress was better than my best friend’s or when the boy next door on whom I had a crush rewarded me with a sweet smile.
Once I started college, happiness was bunking college and going to a movie, hanging around in the cafeteria with my friends. Happiness was having the first boyfriend in my life or sharing a stealthy kiss with him. When I started my first job, happiness was the time when I bought special gifts for my loved ones with my first salary. During professional life, happiness was also when I got my first appreciation from my boss or my first promotion, or some years later when I got my own cabin.
Dear reader, learned researchers of reputed Institutes like Harvard, say that you are happiest in your thirties. I tend to disagree as I find that I can be happy at any stage of my life. Or as Deepika Padukone might put it, “Happiness – my choice” – because it is really a matter of choice. Happiness depends on me. I can choose to be happy – or unhappy. But yes, it is in my thirties that I was comfortably settled in my life. It is when people start ticking off boxes including marriage and children. It was also in my thirties that I became more self-confident and more comfortable with myself. During this time, happiness was when I come home after a long day of work and took my child in my arms.
Then before I knew it, I had reached my middle age. Depression among elder people is very common as they are coping with constant change like loss of a loved one, retirement, and loss of purpose, general regrets about life and many other things. But then again it was up to me to decide whether I wanted to be happy in spite of the circumstances or wallow in self-pity. I did not want to stop playing just because my age is increasing. Because as a wise person once said “We do not stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” That reminds me of a story I once heard. An old man has 8 hairs on his head. He went to the barber shop. Barber asked in jest, “Shall I count or cut?” The old man smiled and said, “Colour it.” Life is to enjoy with whatever I have with me, so I choose to be happy and keep smiling. As Mark Twain said,” Sing like no one is listening, love like you have never been hurt, dance like nobody is watching and live like it’s heaven on earth.” “The idea is to die young as late as possible!” as Ashley Montagu put it succinctly.
Now that I am growing older or rather the number of years that I have come to this beautiful earth is increasing (because after all age is just a number), I have started savouring ordinary experiences in life. Because as people become more settled, ordinary experiences become central to a sense of self. I find that the perception of happiness has changed for me over time. When I was younger, by feeling excited I would feel rewarded. But now I get a bigger boost of satisfaction from peace and calm. In the modified words of Anne Yantha, as I grow older, I find that true happiness is not in how much I make, or how many degrees I have or how big my house is or how fancy my car is. True happiness is finding peace and joy and calmness in my life that will soon become the most important thing to me. My family is what matters to me, love is what matters to me. Things that are quality and not quantity. Rabindranath Tagore that wise sage said, “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain, or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky” – I, dear reader, hope to remain that way till the time comes for me to depart this earth.
puzzleNovember 15, 2015 - 11:39 i agree! Happiness should not depends on others but yourself. Nice post!
Sharmishtha ShenoyNovember 15, 2015 - 13:15 Thanks Puzzle!
Manahill NaikNovember 15, 2015 - 11:49 a pure boost up :) very nice.. <3
Sharmishtha ShenoyNovember 15, 2015 - 13:16 Thanks - your comment gives me strength to write more - like Horlicks ;-) Specially the upvote acts like a multivitamin tonic!
Manahill NaikNovember 16, 2015 - 11:17 LOL :P XD
VelantraNovember 15, 2015 - 13:06 Thank you my friend, it says a lot to me. You want to make me cry....love you for this. I agree, it is what make you happy, not what you have. My dream is to see the world, not have expensive things, hope we will meet someday.
Sharmishtha ShenoyNovember 15, 2015 - 13:17 Sure we will! And thanks for the upvote and favouring!
purpletearsNovember 15, 2015 - 18:35 Very nice post. You, certainly, gave me something to think about
Sharmishtha ShenoyNovember 16, 2015 - 12:52 Thanks Purpletears - please change your name to goldensmile ;-) Keep smiling!!
purpletearsNovember 16, 2015 - 15:17 Aw! I´ll do it. You are so sweet! :)
JoyNovember 16, 2015 - 04:10 Happiness is when I read ur posts... :)... really u r a very versatile writer... keep writing :)
Sharmishtha ShenoyNovember 16, 2015 - 09:55 Thanks - Happiness is publishing in Typotic and receiving words of kindness and encouragement from 'Joy'! :-)
JoyNovember 16, 2015 - 14:55 U r welcome anytime... keep spreading smiles by writing such posts...
KayleeMumbaNovember 17, 2015 - 06:47 excellent
Sharmishtha ShenoyNovember 17, 2015 - 08:46 Thanks!
KayleeMumbaNovember 17, 2015 - 09:21 ur welcome
Lea EbioNovember 23, 2015 - 08:31 you really are one of the excellent writers in this forum! I enjoyed reading your posts especially "happiness"... keep writing!
Sharmishtha ShenoyNovember 23, 2015 - 10:28 Thanks ejay - I also love this forum as it contains people like you who inspire me to write :-)
Lea EbioNovember 23, 2015 - 12:29 same here sharm!your comments mean a lot!
vickyoziwritesNovember 24, 2015 - 18:43 Very nice one sharmistha! Thanks for writing
Sharmishtha ShenoyNovember 27, 2015 - 03:54 Thanks a lot Vicky
Amardeep ChowdhuryDecember 1, 2015 - 12:02 Very positively thought and expressed. Happiness is god's precious gift. To remain happy in all situation is an art.To be able to make other happy is one's greatest virtue.
Sharmishtha ShenoyDecember 1, 2015 - 12:50 Thank you Mr Chowdhury
Very happy to read your comment!:-) And thanks for your upvote!
DhayeDecember 16, 2015 - 16:14 So relevant! Happiness is...when your story is the relevant one that moves and inspires the readers. :) Good job!
Sharmishtha ShenoyDecember 16, 2015 - 16:54 Thanks for liking this post and upvoting it! I also feel happy!
purpletearsOctober 3, 2016 - 02:15 Thank you so much for sharing this! Truly beautiful
raamanSeptember 29, 2017 - 16:36 I agree with you. Good article.
DahmieOctober 8, 2017 - 15:06 I love what I do, and doing what I love to do makes me happy and happy I am. as a comedian & writer, it's all about being happy