The happiness factor

Written one year ago

I wrote this to a video in the background I played in the background of a Blacksmith forging an Axe, and is accompanied by a beautiful soundtrack by a group called ‘Foreign Fields’.

I’ve tried to principle my life over the past couple of years on the basis of happiness; living in the belief of the primness in the idea that I can base my satisfaction on doing things that make me happy, and that through those actions I can achieve happiness in whole.

  • I’d left my career and started a company with values based on achieving this happiness.
  • I based all of my decisions on maintaining an equilibrium of this happy state. It’s a surface level idea that sounds very nice.
  • It sounds nice when I tell someone that asks me what my goal is in life, and at work, what we do, and I say: ‘well, I’m aiming at achieving happiness’.
  • But happiness as a whole is hard to find.

I’ve found a lot of things, but I haven’t found a continuum of happiness; I haven’t even found one of content. And I don’t know why. So I’m writing this in a retrospective search, as well as to declare a conclusion to myself that’s already deep felt in my heart, and in my mind, that I hope I can get on paper somewhere in this article.

I have things to be proud of, and feel lucky for.

  1. I’ve been married nearly 10 years to a beautiful and kind girl, that’s grown into a wonderful woman, and a dedicated mother. She’s not the same person I met when I was 19, nor the same one I married at 21. And all of the factors that impacted our happiness together when we were just a couple of teenagers getting married don’t exist anymore. But here we are, 10 years later, with a beautiful history, two sweetheart girls, and an opportunity to redefine and renew a premise for our happiness together. I’m lucky to have that.
  2. I’ve also built a professional reality that couldn’t exist in my career. It felt nigh on impossible at the time — and it still does, from where I came from in life. It felt, and a lot of times still feels like a path forged alone; it can manifest as a burden, like Frodo; but a small and mighty company I’ve built. I’ve been able to choose a fellowship of people to work with, for better or for worse. I can choose other simple things, like where to sit, the type of chair, the location, what we work on, how we work, and who joins our environment. All the small things. The choices haven’t resulted in happiness, but I’m lucky for the privilege.
  3. All this has given me ability t0 fulfill my families needs and wants, and balance our financial reward with safety. I’m very lucky for this too. I can aim to have whatever I’d like, right now. If there’s a new thing, place, or reality that I’d like to make happen, I can go for it; with some exceptions, and trade-offs. There’s very little limit to the privilege that Canada as a country and my evolved career and skill-set have given me. There’s endless opportunity, possibility, and risk. And I’m lucky to have that.

But do these things result in the creation of happiness?

No, they don’t. They may have factors that can add to my overall level of happiness, but they do not in whole, or pieces, combine to equal happiness-in-whole.

Moments of states of mental health, physical health, and happiness– these are cycles, lasting months, weeks, days, and sometimes hours if I’m lucky (or unlucky). I capture them using photo booth throughout the year. They’re captured during times where I feel a depth or shallowness, or happiness.

A happy moment during a difficult time.
A very difficult time.
A happier time.
Starting to sink.

Some are moments of feeling love, and others of complete isolation; even if I’m surrounded by love and support.

The isolation is disabling. It’s a feeling of floating in the middle of a deep blue sea, surrounded by nothing. No fear of sharks. Unlimited life, but no breathing. Water deep in the lungs– a suspended suffocation.

It’s likely momentary states of severe depression, compounded by factors that also give me opposite moments of happiness…of surreal joy, adrenaline, and energy.

note: this is where the original article ended…

“Life is a feeling process”

The process, like the video at the beginning of this post, is cyclical: Forging. Hammering. Firing. Cooling. Re-working. Repeating the cycle. And making an Axe. To destroy with, and rebuild.

And right now, I have a momentary state of happiness, and content-ness, as I write this in my office at home. The girls playing hide-and-seek. Listening to Foreign Fields, and looking forward to all that’s to come in the New Year.

And this state can switch, like a light switch, in a moment, an hour, a day, or a week.

Happiness-in-whole is elusive, but the moments… I value and treasure them ever so much. It’s beautiful what glimmers of light you can recognize from the hollows.

Most recently… bubblegum

I recently read: “you’re responsible for the energy that you bring into your environment” — And I feel nothing is more important than this; not the work, careers, jobs, or apps. Not the hashtags, or clients. These are ever so easy to forge, and come and go so easily.

As I look to the New Year, I hope to continue to encounter the people, places, and things that contribute an energy that leads to moments of happiness– and that selfishly help me maintain this through life, my craft, friendship, and love.

I hope to find and contribute to them as well; a reciprocal cycle.

Happy New Year, peace, and love.

“… take every single step with, ever-much-care-for / the bricks that I lay / because when we grow old, then this yellow-bricked road is what fairytales are made of .” ~Mustefa