24 November 2006

Common censor

I've been thinking a lot about happiness recently. I went through a couple of weeks of being so happy I couldn't contain myself.
6 words: Amy Smith. Appropriate Technology. Dream Project. (YAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!)

Then came a couple of weeks of feeling like sludge on the floor. Buried beneath the floor. It's okay to be completely transparent about feeling happy, but when I'm down, I feel like I have a responsibility to put a lid on it, cheer myself up. The only thing worse than being down is pulling everyone else down with me.

I have mixed feelings about pretending to be happy. It feels so wrong. And makes me feel worse. But if I honestly display my ugly mood, it feels shameful. No friend in their right mind would let me go on my way if I told them I was sludge under the floor. They would feel obliged to try to make me feel better. Or feel guilty if they didn't try. What an awful thing to give a friend. But I only sink deeper if I isolate myself or pretend that everything's fine. Solution: I parcel out my unhappiness and spread it out amongst everyone, one little piece at a time. One word, a smile, a hug, a laugh from different people and it all adds up.

It's also becoming blatantly obvious that I am most satisfied when I'm being extremely physical. Backpacking by moonlight. The ache in my thighs from hiking 17 miles. Fumbling through martial arts (f*$#ing back kick...) Dancing until my mind floats away and my feet hurt so bad I'm crying. Biking in the pouring razor rain to catch the MIT bus. Walking for miles through cold crisp Vancouver streets. I need a boot camp. I want to spend the next several years aching and getting stronger. Best of all worlds: I find an organic farm run by martial arts masters. I alternate days between planting/harvesting/digging ditches and learning Tai Chi, Taekwondo, Capoeira, Karate, Aikido, Wing Chung, Judo, Savate, Hapkido, Jujitsu, Muay Thai, Kung Fu. And yoga. And every week I have to hike 10 miles into town to...umm...get the mail...
In other news, I finally found a thesis: Development is making people happy. Imagine measuring development in Gross National Happiness instead of GNP. Crazy? Bhutan's taking a shot at it and Britain's thinking about it.

I'm amused by all the things I think but would never dare say out loud or write down.

1 comment:

Gui C. said...

Funny thing about happiness - lots of people have thought about it before. It's easy to forget, though:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.