Dear 100 Hour Board,
What is your definition of happiness?
It's hard for me to explain exactly what the definition of happiness, but I can give you examples of times when I know I have felt pure happiness. I think that counts for something.
Happiness is the feeling when your favorite artist comes out of hiding after 4 years with a brand new album.
Happiness is seeing the person you love most in the world kneeling in front of you with tears in his eyes asking you to be with him forever.
Happiness is watching that same person snuggled up in a blanket taking a nap.
Happiness is getting a spontaneous box of cookies from your mom during a really hard week of school.
Happiness is standing in a concert with everyone singing all around you in a moment of pure human solidarity.
Happiness is saying your prayers for the first time in a while and knowing God still loves you.
Basically, I feel happy when I experience feelings of peace, or moments when my focus is brought to the present and I spend time thinking purely about the things that are important to me. Happiness is when I feel connected to people - family, friends, strangers, God... without any interruptions. Music, quiet, nature, and sometimes even food make that possible.
I think happiness is a little bit like love in that there are lots of valid ways to define/use the word. Like, I could say that I'm extremely happy right now, because I'm writing this in line with my friends at Disneyland.
But when I'm thinking about happiness in life, that has a different meaning for me. Like, when my friends check in with me by asking if I'm happy, I don't think about whether or not I'm in Disneyland (although I doubt trips to Disneyland would hurt). I think about whether I feel loved and supported by the people I love and support; I think about whether I am healthy, especially mentally; and I think about if I feel like I'm learning, and whether my work feels purposeful and interesting to me.
There's probably more to it than that, but I'm still figuring it out. An unexpected part of college for me has been that I'm being forced to challenge my assumptions about what would make for a happy life, and my perspective on that is shifting pretty rapidly. So, that's the best definition I have right now.
It's wind in my face, autumn leaves dancing in the sky, fresh rain like Heaven's kiss on my skin, the softness of dawn mixed with mist, crystal clarity of sudden elucidation, a child's laugh, freedom of soul, and balanced poise to soar into eternity between each heartbeat with seamless synchrony of body, heart, and mind.