Yesterday a friend and I sat on the beach while our children mauled us and demanded food. We chatted about being fulfilled and happy. Today I read this article on the same subject. Happiness is an enormously subjective emotion which can be dimmed or illuminated by time and perspective, and the mood in which you are reminiscing. When the twins were little babies I can remember saying to a couple of friends that I was really happy at that time. Looking back I think I was in a black pit of loneliness being away from my parents, brother, friends and home as well as struggling terribly with the children. My arm was particularly painful for a few months and I don't think I mentioned it much. The pain is quite depressive with its tendency to drag on and I started to have counselling for a few other things so God knows what I thought I was happy about.
Similarly, when I look back at my school days I smile dreamily in the warmth of the contentment of those years - smoking fags behind the Bull & Swan during lunch break, sneaking downstairs to the common room after lights out and watching a horror film then wrapping a blanket round all three of us and waddling back up to the dorm, scared out of our wits and giggling manically. If I closely examined the reality I'd probably recall the angst and paranoia of teenage years.
I like the feeling of saying 'I'm happy'. I'm happy at the moment. I wonder how I'll feel when I look back twenty years from now?
picture by http://www.qophotography.co.nz/