Happiness is like fireflies.
Small, golden, illuminating specks hiding in the shadows, behind the bushes and lingering in the sky. Off. On. Off. On. Twinkling timers flying against the backdrop of the summer night.
You run to catch one.
You laugh and scurry to the next flash of light. Once again, you miss.
You turn to your friends holding sparklers, tragically attempting to draw cursive letters in the air, and they encourage you to keep going, to not give up.
Finally, you catch a firefly.
You hold on to it. You cover it in the palm of your hand. You keep it safe. You keep it close. You cherish the small miracle.
Happiness is like an abandoned road.
An abandoned road that leads to an abandoned safe haven. You press your foot the gas and drive. You press your foot harder and harder to the gas pedal until the speedometer reaches 95.
The wind blows hair against your face. The sun projects a warm sensation of peace and tranquility on the metal frame of your sunglasses. The radio blasts tunes that free your mind and soul. The lyrics speak to you. The lyrics whisper to you that in this moment, everything is okay. The lyrics whisper that everything will be okay. For the first time in months, you finally feel sane.
The yellow lines on the road are neon. You see the life in the forest that surrounds you. You see the magic in the landscape in front you.
You don’t want the road to end. You keep driving into the sunset. You keep driving into a land of fairies and gumdrops. As the car speeds up, your mind slows down. Your mind stops.
You carry this peacefulness with you. You carry the feeling of the abandoned road with you. When you find yourself in a suddenly stressful situation, you close your eyes and imagine the land of free souls and fresh air.
Happiness is like a sandcastle.
A messy sandcastle that is bound for disaster.
You fill a bucket with wet sand. And you turn behind you to see your mom and grandmother taking beachy photos of you and your siblings. As you approach the designated location of the soon to be sand masterpiece, you set the bucket down and turn it around.
It’s a mess.
An ugly pile of sand.
Yet you are not discouraged. You try until and again until you succeed. Until the sun rests on the shoreline.
Your mom and grandmother snap one more picture of the final product.
You walk back to the hotel celebrating your small sand victory and vow to remember the work of art, vow to frame the photo and hang it in your future house.
The dictionary defines happiness as “the state of being happy.” That’s a definition. A formal definition that fails to encompass the emotions, sweet sensations, and tell all tales that evoke sense, touch, and taste.
Beyond this definition lives fireflies, abandoned roads, and sandcastles.
Tangible, real-life objects and things that paint a picture of happiness. Vivid images that trigger sensory dimensions.
So, what’s your state of being happy?