The other day I was reading Glamour’s April 2013 issue (ok, ok, so I read in in the bathroom, don’t judge) that included an interview with Jillian Michael from The Biggest Loser.
It featured a picture of her and her partner, pushing their adopted daughter down a sidewalk in the city and quoted Jillian talking about happiness.
“Ever hour on the hour, stop and ask yourself, “How do I feel in this moment? Am I happy? Or not?”
She goes on to say, “That exercise allows you to see things that bring you pleasure and the things that make you miserable.”
Now, call me crazy, but I think that is pretty crappy advice.
To stop every hour, on the hour, to ask myself if I’m happy?
Sounds pretty exhausting.
And frankly, a recipe for disaster. I have spent a lot of my life thinking about myself–what makes me happy, what I want to do with my life, why I chose a degree that didn’t make me happy, why can’t I be more outgoing, why cant’ I have more money, why, why, why. And honestly, all of that analyzing and selfish thinking has not made me happy.
If I stopped every hour, on the hour, to assess if I was happy, I’d come up with a big resounding no.
Hour one. Wake up to bloodcurdling cry from baby.
Hour two. Nurse baby.
Hour two. Change baby.
Hour three. Feed other children.
Hour four. Try not to scream at children to get out the door and dressed.
None of the things that I am specifically doing throughout the day necessarily make me “happy.” But I am happy.
I don’t think the key to happiness is stopping throughout the day and analyzing ourselves to death, constantly thinking we need to be happy all of the time in order to be truly happy.
Happiness is more of this. Or this.
I like how this blogger summed up the pursuit of happiness:
“When I think of what I genuinely want for these boys, happiness is not the first thing that comes to mind. If I had to choose one thing to teach them, it would not be “how to be happy. What I’ve learned is that happiness is easy to attain in short bursts, but hard to maintain over time. It’s like the snow you catch in your hands — it eventually melts. I am happy when I’ve had a tiny bit too much to drink, find the perfect chocolate, or get to sleep past 7 in the morning. I have had happy moments both big and small. But the pleasure I get from these things ebbs and flows — I can wake up happy and then have a perfectly miserable day. So I don’t know how to encourage my children to set out on a quest for something that ephemeral.”
I think she’s so right. I don’t think, honestly, that we are meant to be happy 100% of the time.
I think those little snatches of happiness–those kissable baby cheeks, those perfect sunsets, those peaceful blissful moments when all the kids are snuggling and not fighting with each other–are the moments to hold on to.
The moments to teach us to look onward.
To a happiness, perhaps, that will truly, never end.