The moment I realized I was truly happy occurred while I was riding a bike under the moon, slightly drunk and so full of freedom and joy that I almost didn’t recognize the feeling.
The feeling built up inside, and I allowed all the burdens that had attached themselves to my existence to fall into the dirt road beneath the tires of an old borrowed bike. I allowed the wind to push me, and I melted into the feeling. At the moment, labeling the feeling as “happy” didn’t pop to mind, but the need to protect that feeling was all I wanted.
The feeling had been persisting for a while. This bubble of bliss that I refused to acknowledge had been pestering my heart—because here was no reason for me to be happy. You see, in short, I had failed as an adult—and people who fail at “adulting” do not get to be happy.
I had lost my job, my adult son had made choices I didn’t agree with, and I felt unsure about most of my intimate relationships. One can’t possibly be happy when there is so much that doesn’t fit into that standard mold of joy, right? In fact, I did the absolute wrong thing when everything started to fall apart: I let it fall. Then I ran away. I left the country and everything I knew. I didn’t even post it on social media, it was just a pilgrimage to find myself. I kinda just said, “F*ck it.”
I wasn’t in search of happiness; I had been happy all along. There was no plan to find my happiness outside of the life I had. However, the life I had changed, and I didn’t fight for it. Everyone is allowed to change their minds about the life they lead, and so, I did. I was unaware that I would discover a newfound joy in simplicity—and sometimes, in need.
We know by now, from every meme and inspirational quote, that happiness is something we choose. We can decide to be happy just as simply as the next person—but it is hard to decide to be happy. We can have so many reasons not to be joyful, and not just for our superficial personal reasons. When we have a life of unexpected joy, despite our challenges, we feel a bit guilty. When I reflect on my previous life, I was happy in a different way and for different reasons. In most cases, the pinnacle of our joy can be outside of us. All of our happiness has to be Instagram-able, or it doesn’t exist.
There has become this duplicity in being happy. We are allowed to be happy, but it seems that it needs to be quantifiable. We have to show how happy we are with each move we make and prove it through documentation. Instead of simply being happy, we’ve gotten into the habit of declaring that we are happy.
There are times where being happy turns into a solitary experience. Happiness is almost addictive, and like any addict, we want to protect what takes us to bliss.
That’s the problem with being happy; we fear losing it in the noise of the world. The ability to protect our pleasure becomes more important than feeling the need to expose it to the world. When we become conscious of our happiness, we reveal in it. There are times where I feel guilty to tell people about my life of doing what I want to do, because it seems selfish.
There is a moment when we become unapologetic in our choice to lead the life we want. We make the changes we need to maintain what we have come to cherish more than our ability to be accepted or understood. We stop telling everyone everything, because our life has evolved into something that can’t often be described. They would have to be there to witness it, and even then, the lens that they see the moment through would be different than our own.
When you find bliss you want to be drunk in it, and not everyone can see you that exposed. You may have already experienced people walking away astonished at how unapologetic you have become in your bliss. You almost feel fake when you tell people you are so happy, despite that fact your life may not look great to those from the outside.
Being happy can make us feel vulnerable, as though we have to hide it just to maintain. However, without actually knowing it, our bliss will change how we see your world. It will modify the direction we take and the decisions we make.
Our bliss will change our lives if we let it. We will choose the path that no one expects and be fearless. We stop making excuses, and we just live our truth and let the cards fall where they may. We accept that there are people who will leave our life because they aren’t part of our journey any longer. We shed what doesn’t fit, and we feel the lightness we need to continue our unrepentant path to joy. With every step, our pleasure illuminates.
Eventually, you will know you don’t have to hide or protect your bliss more than you do yourself. Your happiness is as safe as you are in the world, as long as you stay the course. It will become who you are, and you will be left with no other message than “not sorry” and live the joyous life you made for yourself with love and appreciation.
Author: Gichele Cocrelle
Image: Instagram @walkthetalkshow
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina