More Than Happiness

I am sure that there are finer writers who can put it more eloquently. But as 2019 came to a close and 2020 walked in with a swagger (not giving a fuck about whether it ushered in a new decade or not), I realized that it is okay not to wish for happiness.

Perhaps it is better to break it down to digestible pieces.

First, it doesn’t have to be Emotions versus Reason.

For many, rationality meant shedding emotions away totally. They say emotions hinders one from making the logical “right” choices. I say this is only partly true. If we let ourselves be overwhelmed with emotions, surely it will be difficult to pluck out from Reason those we need to see to make decisions. But that is the thing; the whole picture includes emotions. We are humans who experience life not only through measurable means. How does one measure pain anyway? Laughter? Sadness? Even in trying to quantify pain objectively through the use of standard pain scales, doctors cannot fully comprehend the severity of a patient’s pain without understanding the patient’s standard of pain for himself.

So, instead of eliminating emotions from the whole picture, we must let ourselves experience the emotions without completely losing our sanity in the process and recognizing why and how we respond like such.

Second, making mistakes can be good.

Neil Gaiman wrote it better though:

Make new mistakes. Make glorious amazing mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough or that it isn’t perfect, whatever it is. Art, love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Neil Gaiman

It doesn’t mean that we should be careless nor should stop improving ourselves. What we need to do is to not let our fears from stopping us from becoming what we can be. I’d be deathly alarmed and worried if I’d become too afraid to make mistakes because that would mean stagnation.

Third, we can have more than one Great Love in our lifetime.

Most girls grow up being conditioned that the ultimate goal in life is to find Prince Charming and the happy Ever After. Look at all the fairy tales we’re fed during childhood. Girls travel high and low and suffer endlessly and happiness only comes when the Knight in Shining Armor comes into the story. Why does the story have to stop at living “happily ever after”? Why are people not talking about what happens after the Ever After? What if Prince Charming decides to leave to find another princess? Does the first princess stop being happy because she’s already incomplete? Does all the other princes that come after Prince Charming suck?

There is no “Right One”. We become the right kind of person to people we care about.

Fourth, do not be afraid in voicing out opinions. But remember, keeping relationships healthy is important too.

It’s a delicate balance really. We, of course, value honesty. But some brand of honesty can be cruel and not everyone is ready for it. While I do appreciate blunt honesty, I see it depending on the intention. If we care enough for the person, we’d be willing to see the brand of honesty they are more receptive to.

On the other hands, no changes can happen in a stagnant world. Progression require chaos. But we also cannot forcefully hasten progression. Impatience can lead to destruction, but there is some measure of impatience that can prod things to action, leading to change. However, not everything needs to change all the time, at the same time.

This is the delicate balance that I wish to learn in the coming years.

Fifth, one doesn’t need to be happy all the time.

I’d be totally suspicious of someone who claims that they’re all together and happy. People make this mistake of setting happiness as the goal. Often times, failing to reach this goal make many think they’re some kind of failure. And even worse outcome is feeling sadder when logic dictates they should be happy.

This is a mistake I often make.

There’s a tendency to oversimplify happiness. Sometimes we define it differently from what it should be for us. We push ourselves too hard to be happy because people around us expect us to. It is okay to be slow-moving and to take time enjoying what is here now. There can be contentment in imperfection.

For this year and in the coming years, more than happiness, I will live with contentment.

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