The topic of this week’s IBQ Writing Prompt: what is happiness?

Well clearly, it’s when you feel like a room without a roof.

Uuuuh…what does that even mean?!?!?

Seriously though, I’ll answer try to answer the question in my typical roundabout way.

When people ask me “are you happy?” I never know what to say. I very rarely stop and think “gee, I’m happy right now” or “gee, I’m unhappy right now”. I just don’t notice. It’s not a black-or-white issue for me I guess, I’m always somewhere in between, in the gray area. One thing I discussed with my counselor this week was the fact that I don’t let myself get comfortable, so even when good things happen that should make me happy I’m still busy worrying about all sorts of other things in the back of my mind. Like today – I found out that I’m getting a tax refund for the first time in a really long time. If I told that to someone, they’d probably say, “cool, I’ll bet you’re really happy”, and I’d say something like, “yeah, I guess so”. So I’ve got some extra money coming in – great. I should probably pay down the loan my dad gave me. I should save it all in case my car breaks down. I should do this, I should do that. Should I buy the recliner that I’ve been eyeing up for the past month? Probably, but I won’t. I just can’t be comfortable because of all the what-if’s.

Anyway, I guess the point I’m making is that I don’t know what happy is. Maybe it is different things to different people. I have fleeting moments of satisfaction. I’m certainly not content in my current situation. So if a person is able to experience short-term enjoyment but lacks long-term contentment, are they happy? I don’t know. You tell me.

Maybe an important question to ask myself would be “what would make me happy?”

Perhaps the answer to that question is to look back at my vacation post. A week-long vacation with no restrictions or caveats, no financial burdens, no transportation headaches. That would make me happy. That’s also very unrealistic. I know that I am very much looking forward to this summer, when I am planning to take two weeks off from work. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing  yet, but just being away from the office for a couple weeks should be enough to make me happy. It would be great if I had some money in the bank too…if I could take a vacation AND know that I’m not being financially irresponsible, that might do it. But who am I going on vacation with? I wish I had a close friend, someone to share that experience with. Kiddo and I will vacation together for sure but I’d like to experience something away from home with a friend or two.

I’ll admit – I didn’t answer the question of “what is happiness?”. But I look forward to reading other responses to this week’s prompt, because it’s clear that I’ve got a few things to learn.


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