Happy is now
Listen when a rich man says that wealth doesn’t come with happiness. Listen. Don’t gloss over it. Ponder it.
I’m not a verified rich man but I have grown and climbed and done okay. When I think of where I was born, where I was formed, where I became a man and where I am. I have grown.
Like the rest of us, I am reaching for the next level, the next stage, the next high. The next adventure. Except, I am slowly realizing that my happiness meter is going the opposite direction from my growth.
The happiest version of myself remains the childhood Dolapo, running away from bullies in secondary school. My circumstances then were not rosy. In Nigeria, secondary school was the rite of passage. Every moment as a junior, I spent dissecting the many ways to avoid being found by my seniors. I wanted to be known and respected among my peers and juniors without my seniors and elders catching wind of my name.
Being known in secondary school by your seniors equate to being recognized in the crowd which equates to being called on often for errands and extortion and humiliation. A lot of seniors found joy in just sheer humiliation of their juniors. It was like a game of monopoly except human emotions and sanity were the currency.
But I was happy. My happiness wasn’t based on my circumstance, it was just a fondness for life. The opportunity to be, to connect deeply with people in the same struggles without needing to explain, to be understood, to be seen and known. I had so much fun with being known that I played mental pranks on people by learning to be an emotional chameleon. One day, I was happily connecting then the next day, I was a cold turkey bull dozing through affections.
Happy. I did not know in those moments that they were gonna become some of the happiest times of my life. I didn’t know because I wasn’t pursuing happy like it was a bill that needed to be paid. I was just being present, being me and happy knocked my door often. Naturally, I let her in.
Happy has characteristics that remind me of that one girl or even money. It doesn’t like people desperate for it. Happy wants to be attracted not demanded to come over. Happy likes to be a by product of being and not a prerequisite to it. Happy just wants a home to feel safe, a home she wants to stay in. That home evaporates when I make her my destination.
Happy. What an enigma? It’s almost like the more I achieve, the less I have to offer happy to visit. Because if happy with all I have is not finding home then there are less things to offer happy to stay.
This is an epiphany that I don’t like. Happy has the same blue print as money! As love! Happy too doesn’t want to be bought or commanded or requested. It wants to find me and knock instead of being sent over to deliver my pizza! Oh my goodness! Happy is a boss lady too!
If this is true, and if happy is important to me, then I must sit tight and take note. That extra income, that successful business, that new love, that vacation, that new home, that new car, that wardrobe overhaul. None of that carries the happy that I want. At least not the happy that abides and stays home like home cooking. She may visit me in the thick of those moments but she won’t stay.
It’s a dreary prospect to consider that in addition to pursuing goals for the sake of my sanity and maybe to get to a better place, I must do so while pursuing happy. Now. Today. In this season.
Happy is a state of decluttered priorities and acceptance of self. Happy needs the same work now as when my goals are within reach. The more I achieve, the most cluttered my priorities become.
Now is the time to do the work to dialog with myself, and learn from the past; when am I happiest and what are the pillars that hold back happy to hang out and sleep over?
Now is the time to take a trip to the recesses of my mind and listen to the hurts, the pains and the elations of the past. Now is the time to observe my memories like a third party. Now is the time to truly be, and embrace me. Now is the time to stop telling my true self what it must be for me to be approved of it. Now is the time to be grateful. To be kind. To be selfless.
Now is the time to live for more than my needs and goals. To find fulfillment in giving myself — time, money, energy. Now is the time to be happy.