The HERE Year Month #12: Happiness
March 2015, guys. Hard to believe. Time is zipping by and here we are in a new month. It doesn't feel much like March here in New York City. Yesterday it snowed and it wasn't a sheepish dusting either. It came down hard and fast and it was pretty, but I did feel myself - like many East Coasters, I imagine - dreaming of warm spring days. Well, I know they will be here soon and I will do my best to enjoy these dregs (oh do I hope they are the dregs) of a brutal, but beautiful city winter.
A new month and my final month of the HERE Year. Honestly, this blows me away because it feels like just yesterday that I announced this yearlong experiment of sorts, that I'd be examining Presence through a litany of lenses. And I have. And I've had a wonderful partner-in-crime or better yet, partner-in-presence, Lindsey Mead.
But here we are at the outset of the last month. And I've known all along what the ultimate topic would be, what I've been building toward: Happiness.
You see, this whole thing has had something important, if elusive, to do with Happiness. It's remained my belief that Presence is as vital, if not more vital, than Happiness. Vital for what, you might ask. For the good life? Maybe. I don't pretend to have all the answers. If this year has taught me anything, it's that there are far more questions than answers and that this is okay and even inspiring. It is the asking, the pondering, the seeing and the seeking that brings texture to life, magic to the mundane.
So, what about Happiness? I will be the first to admit that this is perhaps the biggest, most unknowable existential beasts of all. What does it mean to be happy? Does it mean something different for each of us or are there compelling common threads? Is Happiness something we should be thinking about and talking about and striving for all the time, or does preoccupation with Happiness, particularly in its ideal sense, make us unhappy?
Again, I don't pretend to have any expertise on any of this and I'm not sure I believe in Happiness expertise anyway. I believe in questions and conversations and instinct and desire. I believe in self-awareness and struggle and love. I believe in effort and story and dreams and change. Change. I believe that we can make ourselves happier if we do the work.
And maybe that's what this whole HERE Year is about. Doing the work. Doing the work to be here in my life, a life that I've built and adore and struggle with because it is real and imperfect and so unabashedly mine. Doing the work to slow down to see things, truths - about the world, about myself, about what I want and what I don't. Doing the work to be present for these moments that I will not get back.
Has doing this work made me happier? You bet. Have I changed? Absolutely. Without a doubt. But so much of it remains a mystery and that's the fun part. It's hard to see our happiness in the moment; to glimpse change as it's happening. And yet we can sense, can't we, when we are moving in the right direction?
I have no doubt that this will be a good, interesting, full month. I have so much to say and ask on the topic of Happiness. It will be hard to squeeze it all into one little month, but I will do my best and then declare defeat and keep talking about it once March fades out. I look back on this blog, almost six years old, and it's plain as day: This whole thing is an ode to Happiness, what I do feel and what I hope to feel as time ticks on.
I'm excited, guys.