Committed to Happiness! Are you?

First off, let me tell you, I am committed to happiness.

Above all things in life, I most cherish being happy. When people ask me what I want in life? I have to ask them back, ‘You mean now, specifically? Or generally?’ And I often find them reframing their question, ‘What do you want to be in life?’

For the life of me, I don’t know!

I have a butterfly mind. For as long as I remember, I have flitted from one interest to another, one job to another, one place to another. I don’t stick. And I quiet pride myself in being footloose. I am averse to rigidity in any form of existence. For most part, I am fortunate to have lived life drumming to my own tune, so far.

So, when people ask me what I want in life? The answer is a lot simpler. “To be Happy!”

Mind you, I am no idealistic 12 year old. I have lived 4 decades pursuing joie de vivre; and I think I have done alright. I may not be the richest person or even the richest I could have been, but I sure am as happy as I could ever be. I am an architect, an educator, a writer and an artist. I have multiple streams of revenue, each of which I pursue with love and immense joy. Happiness is a conscious pursuit for me.

“I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy” — Dalai Lama XIV

I am no Lama, but his words resonates within me.

Science agrees too….

“Contemporary research shows that happy people are more altruistic, more productive, more helpful, more likable, more creative, more resilient, more interested in others, friendlier, and healthier. Happy people make better friends, colleagues, and citizens.” — Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project)

I am often asked, ‘Don’t you feel guilty for being a rolling stone gathering no moss, but joy galore’?

The answer? ‘Nope’.

I know I don’t want to live a life of regret- a life of ‘what ifs’. I owe it to myself to explore all the wonder my heart fills itself with. There was a time when I tried to be a ‘grown up’, do what was expected, which simply translated to ‘do what everyone else is doing’. It was the most miserable part of my life. And then, I had a Scarlett O’Hara kind of epiphany, and I swore to myself that ‘I shall never be miserable again’.

Truth be told, it is difficult being happy if you are doing something you aren’t supposed to. So, when I say, I am committed to happiness. I am not sitting at home gorging on dark chocolates the whole day, or indulging in selfish acts of pleasure. I know, those are bound to leave me with a sense of ‘guilt’; and happiness cannot bloom alongside the weeds of guilt, regret or any kind of negativity.

A commitment to happiness involves doing my duty; being the best version of myself; loving myself; loving others; forgiving myself; treating others with kindness; cherishing and pampering myself; offering my time and resources to those in need; being immersed in nature; listening to my heart; sleeping, eating, resting, working in moderation; dancing; singing; making silly doodles; cracking jokes and LOL; reading comics, indulging in any kind of humour; spending time with children; spending time with pets; lending my time and ear to loved ones, even strangers (everyone needs love); never being in too much of a hurry to reach anywhere…. the list goes on.

I suppose it is different for everyone. My inner compass guides, and I simply follow. With time I have learnt to ‘read’ this compass and to trust it to guide me to righteousness and happiness. I am no master of joy. I still fumble and fall. But every time I fall, I get up, brush off the hurt and ridicule, suck at my thumb for a while (if I absolutely must) and tread ahead with child-like optimism.

Children don’t take failure to heart. Life is one big experiment for them — to figure out what works and what doesn’t. As a grown up, I try not to trip on my ego and get all wound up.

What about you? How committed are you to your happiness?

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