I was a happy child.
Anxious, but happy.
Somewhere in my teens, I read my first romantic novel, and my definition of happiness changed.
Maybe it was because my living circumstances were unbearable and I needed a fantasy to hang on to, but I fully bought into the knight in shining armour myth and have been waiting for him to arrive ever since.
Aged thirteen, I formulated a two-part plan:
Step one: get away from the circumstance
Step two: find the man who would make me happy forever.
Step one was a total success. By the age of 17, I had removed myself from the place that made me cry.
Step two has never been accomplished.
I have only just really understood why:
I am the sole arbiter of my own happiness.
This morning, I woke feeling sunny. I got up, put the kettle on and stepped out of the front door.
The sky was heavy with dark grey cloud, shot through with wisps of light. I looked up and spotted a dancer and a tortoise hidden in those clouds and thought: ‘yeah.’
I ran through the day ahead, nothing much going on apart from a few little jobs, and thought: ‘today is going to be a good day.’
And in that moment, I benchmarked what I was feeling, and decided that anything less than that simple joy in being present in the world for no particular reason other than I’m here, was not happy.
In that moment, I had no feeling of worry, anxiety, stress. In that moment it was just me in the world smiling. And that is enough to make me happy.
I have finally accepted that I am the person who is responsible for my happiness. Other people can come along and add to it, (and they do, frequently) but they cannot be responsible for making me happy or keeping me that way.
Today my intellectual understanding shifted from knowing it to really feeling it. Today I established my benchmark for happiness.