Harrison asked me today: “You ever feel like you’re scared of being happy?”
I thought about that for a good hour before responding. It’s one of Harrison’s
best qualities to ask spurious yet deep questions.
I like the question because of its implication. To be scared of being happy
means you’re worried about what happens when you get there. Like somehow when
you “become happy”, you lose a part of what used to make you, well, you.
My gut reaction was to say yes. Of course I’m scared of being happy. If I was
happy then why am I living? Isn’t my life supposed to be a quest for happiness?
If I’ve already reached the goal, then what more is there?
But then, that’s not really my goal in life. I mean, it’s part of it –
certainly. It’s not like I’m not looking to maximize my unhappiness. But I
came to the conclusion that I don’t think about my personal happiness a lot. A
lot of things make me happy, like when my friends succeed, or when I get
likes on a bad joke I post on Twitter, or when I hear the D in a C major
chord. But for the most part, I don’t internalize those or compartmentalize those.
They just… make me happy.
So I told him that I don’t really feel that way. I’m not scared of being happy
because happiness for me isn’t a state of being, it’s a state transition. It
takes me from moment to moment in life. It builds me up in the most unexpected
places. It makes me smile in moments of sadness. It helps me center myself in
moments of elation.
He gave me the angry emoji react. I guess I deserved it.