What Is Happiness?

My parents came to visit me recently for the first time since I moved to Bloomington. I was obviously super stoked to have visitors and show them around my new home.

It’s been a little difficult of a transition these last couple months, but life knocks you down sometimes and you gotta put your big girl pants on and deal with it. (Read these for more info: It Ain’t All Rainbows and Butterflies; I’m Left In Good Hands; A Happy Life is the Best Life; The Way It Is; The Good.)

Anyway, my mom and I were getting ready to go out for dinner, while Kris, my dad, and my nephew were in the living room (literally 10 steps away). She looked at me and whispered,

“Are you happy?”

I was a little thrown off by her question. I laughed actually. Of course I was. Right?

So I answered, “Yeah, I guess.”

She didn’t say much more. And I’m not sure why exactly she felt the need to ask. Maybe because she knew I’d been having a hard transition, or that I had a lot shit happen over the last eight months.

(For clarification, Kris and I are and have been wonderful. He’s been my rock, my voice of reason, my “get your ass off the couch and do something about it” support).

I thought about her question more, and a couple awkward seconds later I rebuttal-ed with:

“I’m not happy, but I’m not unhappy.”

Haha. That’s seriously what I said.

She didn’t really know how to respond. I tried explaining what I meant, but as most things go when I try explaining… It was a little unclear.

So I left it as is, and we went to dinner.

A week later, I attended my Yoga Nidra class at Vibe Yoga (you should go), and we were discussing how we felt after the session. I was up first.

For those that have experienced this before, you know it’s an extremely deep experience. For those who haven’t experienced this before, here’s how I explained my experience to my teacher and the class:

“It’s feeling every emotion all at once, while also not feeling them. You’re not happy, but you’re not sad. I can’t wrap my head around that completely. How’s that even possible? To not be either…”

What I was saying, didn’t really make sense (as you can tell), but it’s how I felt inside. And my teacher proceeded to explain that in life we persevere things to be either this or that, black or white. But with yoga, we can just BE. 

At that moment, I knew that’s what I meant when I told my mom I wasn’t happy, but I wasn’t unhappy either.

Telling someone I wasn’t necessarily happy, but also not unhappy at the same time was weird. But that’s what it was.

I think, as my yoga teacher said, in society we think we must be this or that. Happy or unhappy. But can’t I be somewhere in the middle? Can’t I just BE?

It’s not a negative thing to just BE.

And that’s what I want to share.

I just am. I’m living. I’m enjoying some days. I’m bored others. I get the chance to live a life others don’t. I miss my friends. I’m thankful. I’m tired. I’m madly in love. All of it, at once.

Some days, all of that is closer to being unhappy. Other days, it’s closer to being happy.

What does happiness mean to you?

Mom, thanks for asking me if I was happy, because I had never really thought about what happiness meant to me until now.

Happiness means something different to me every day, but at it’s core it means being with Kris and being a part of something bigger than myself. At the end of the day, that’s all I want and need in this world.

So what is happiness?

You decide.




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