I, like most people I'm sure, wish I could somehow bottle happiness and soak in it during times of grief, stress and anxiety. I'm not referring to the kind of happiness that is exponential or based off of a major source of joy or success, but the kind of happiness that is full of peaceful acceptance, quiet contentment, and a healthy dose of hope and excitement.
I was at work the other night when I briefly experienced this kind of happiness. It's not that anything major happened. I was simply having a good day. I was getting along with my co-workers and customers. I made good money. Things were going well in my life in general. And when I got home, my face was actually sore from smiling so much. It was just one of those days, and I remember my efforts to soak up that feeling for all it was worth - my desire to bottle it up and keep it for the days of fear, uncertainty and sadness.
Unfortunately, I had one of those days the very next day upon finding out something that broke my heart wide open - of course, after I so carefully and painstakingly put it back together recently. I numbed myself to the information, refusing to ask too many questions or let it sink in too much. But when I woke up at the break of dawn the next morning with the reality that it wasn't just a dream and I couldn't change a thing about it, I cried for an hour. Bitterly. Fearfully. Pitifully.
It's strange to me how we can feel so happy one day and so devastated the next. It almost seems wholly unfair, as if life is simply unwilling to give us a break and let sleeping dogs lie.
So in the wake of my latest source of unease and heartbreak, I found myself wishing I had that happiness in a bottle even more. (Please spare the Xanax and Vodka jokes.)
I just want to bottle the type of feeling I get upon receiving wonderful news. The type of feeling I get in the presence of someone I love or feel attracted to. The type of feeling I get when I wake up and remember that I have little to do, thus leading to the realization that I can do whatever I want. The type of feeling I get when someone makes me laugh out loud. The type of feeling I get when things run smoothly and problems work themselves out. The type of feeling I get when I'm lost in the world of a good book or a captivating movie. The type of feeling I get when I know I've done something well, correctly or brilliantly. The type of feeling I get when I hear from someone I haven't spoken to in awhile. The type of feeling I get when I'm in a new and exciting environment. The type of feeling I get when life is on my side and pain keeps its distance.
But I can't. I can't put happiness in a bottle.
So instead, I'm choosing to change what I reasonably can and accept what I reasonably cannot. I'm choosing to live in the moment instead of dreading the future. I'm choosing to take my life and solve my problems one step at a time. I'm choosing to let go and set myself free from self-inflicted stress. I'm choosing to focus on my own life instead of worrying about everyone else's. I'm choosing to do everything I can to keep hope and happiness alive, no matter what life throws at me.
And I suppose that's the closest I'll ever get to having happiness in a bottle. But if you ask me, it's a whole lot better than nothing.