Happy – feeling or showing pleasure or contentment (Oxford Dictionary)
What makes you happy?
Humans being extremely subjective creatures, we all have vastly different forms of pursuing happiness.
The old man sitting on his rattan chair, stares aimlessly into the horizon. Before him are high-rise buildings where plain fields used to lie; as far as his aged eyes could see. The smell in the house no longer carries the aroma of his wife cooking in their kitchen, since she passed on 2 years ago. It only reminded him further of how much the world had changed – and how much more it will change.
His eyes; a little blue due to cataract, turned almost instinctively to look at his old wedding picture. Black and white in print, but filled with colours in heart – only tears streamed down on how much he misses her. He missed opening his eyes every morning to the sight of her beautiful face when the sun rays rested themselves upon it. He missed the feeling whenever their skins touched and he was reminded how much he loved her. He missed the sounds of her nagging whenever he forgot to close the windows when it rained. He missed that when they got older, they sat around looking at pictures of their younger days – laughing at how he grew a big tummy and she had lesser hair.
Now the old man just sits alone, with no one to hold.
How can happiness ever be found?
A mother shifts around endlessly in the waiting area of the hospital; her heart racing and her breath as heavy as ever. Her mind constantly thinking of several things the doctor could tell her about her darling daughter – most of which are bad. Her clenched fists and messed up hair, her thick tears and tired eyes. Anyone could tell that this mother cared deeply for her flesh and blood. An accident is an accident; something no mortal could prevent.
It was dismissal time in school and she was punctual as always. Many other parents, grandparents and maids were also loitering outside the school gate – she felt agitated by the crowd so she decided to wait across the road. When her daughter came out and could not see her mother, a frown landed itself on her pretty face. But upon seeing her mother across the street, she dashed across without hesitation and without thought – without seeing the car that was coming right at her.
It was an accident, but a mother only asks herself, “How could I let this happen?”
Her husband unintentionally found fault with her and her mother-in-law labeled her useless. She did not need them to say it, she already did it to herself. Only when other people do it, it somehow hurts so much more.
A mother who thinks that she caused her own child to possibly suffer death;
How can happiness ever be found?
The cleaner at the hawker centre awaits patiently outside the Finance Department office of the food court she works at. Everyday from 5 in the morning till 11 at night – he slogged his guts out at the place ensuring that he did his job well.
Everyone who sees him would say, “You seem to have a lot of time on your hands!”
Alas, no one knows that he has a lot of burden on his hands.
He was once upon a time a top student in primary school and the world was his oyster. He was the pride and joy of his parents – unlike his elder brother who was born mentally retarded. Just when he received the acceptance letter into the top secondary school of the country, his father who was the sole breadwinner of the house had a stroke. Following by his mother spiraling into the abyss of depression.
He took it upon himself to be the man of the family and set his education aside to bring back whatever little money he could.
At first he thought that it would only be for a while – at least till his father got better. But from a year, it became 3 years – 3 years slowly became 5 years. 5 years unknowingly became 8 years. And from 8 years on, he never really kept track anymore. Especially after his father passed on, he resigned that this was his fate.
Now he is 30 years old and brings back whatever he could to feed his elderly mother and brother. He would offer his services to just about anyone – as long as they were willing to pay him. But this is an ugly world; there were many times when he was cheated. Scheming merchants which drafted out contracts which they knew he could not understand and caused him to work for nothing. Terrible people who promised him payment, but never to be found again after the job was completed.
Everyday he would slouch and drag his feet around. His world was bleak and hopeless – he felt like his life was a joke to God.
He was bestowed such great potential and only to see it die before his eyes when fate took a twist.
How can happiness ever be found?
Life is filled with such painful things and sometimes its almost impossible to believe that happiness lies anywhere in our world.
People die, leaving their spouse alone. Parents fail to live up to expectations, hurting their children. Aspirations fade and we are forced to resign to fate.
In this world, what exactly is happiness?
Honestly, I am no expert. But I always try to see the good in everything.
The old man continues to cry as he stared at the old wedding picture. His wrinkled fingers touched it gently and when tears fall on it, he quickly wipes it – afraid that it would hurt any bit of memory that he has of her left.
He opens an old shoe box and opens up yellow pieces of paper – love letters from her. He strokes the letters and once more, he remembers what it felt like touching her skin. Her words reminded him of what a blessed man he is to have found a woman who loved him till death did them part.
The old album of pictures during their courting days is thick and as he flipped them through – he laughed. All the things they did together; like jumping into the sea, running in the fields and riding on his old scooter. He unconsciously reached out to hold her hand, but only to find that she was no longer there. He smiled,
“Thank you for giving me happiness.”
The mother still awaits impatiently in the waiting area. She simply could no longer stand the angry glares from her husband, nor could she turn a deaf ear to her mother-in-law’s constant insults. Fueled by her pain and yet, love – she stood up and stormed outside the emergency room.
The nurses stopped her and reminded her to calm down.
“There is nothing you can do about it now,” the nurse said in a soothing tone.
“But all she wanted was to come to me! She hates school and when she came out, she was so happy to see me that she just ran across!” the mother screamed.
She looked at the emergency room with such intense eyes; trying to negotiate with God a deal – let her suffer the pain instead of her daughter.
Soon enough, the doctor emerged from the emergency room. He removed his surgical mask, gave the mother a warm smile and allowed her inside to see her daughter.
Her daughter was still unconscious, but she looked so peaceful. The mother pressed one hand against her cheek, another holding onto her daughter’s hand.
“She’s going to be fine,” the doctor assured. “It’s a good thing you got her here so fast.”
“I’m just happy to see that she is okay.”
“She’ll be happy to see you too.”
As soon as the cleaner got hold of the money, he immediately dashed out to the nearby supermarket. He walked around in his dirty clothes, but felt as happy as he could be. He picked out some meat and vegetables – he smiled.
While walking home, he bumped into a neighbour – an old primary school friend.
“Back from work? I see you went to the supermarket!”
“Yes,” the cleaner smiled again as he looked at the bags of food.
“Ah, I remember when you used to top me in primary school,” he continued as they stood outside the cleaner’s home. “You were so full of potential! It is such a pity that you’ve been reduced to this.”
But the cleaner was not listening anymore. Instead, he was looking inside his small two-room apartment – he watched his elder brother and old mother sitting in front of the television and laughing like they did not have a care in the world.
“Don’t you feel the least bit sad?” the neighbour, who stroked his well-ironed shirt asked.
“What about you?” the cleaner smiled.
“Me? Well, once I get my promotion, then I’ll be happy! Maybe even upgrade my BMW… Oh, and that girl I’ve been trying to date…”
“I’m going home to cook for my family a nice meal because I just got my pay,” the cleaner replied. “And I’m happy.”
We all search endlessly for this thing called – happiness.
We do things, we say things and create things; hoping that it could give us this.
But so many times, we forget that the beauty of our world is such that – happiness can be found within ourselves. Just by looking around you, you’ll be able to find something that makes you happy.
And after you have received happiness, I think you’ll find that pursuing your happiness is the one thing that defines the value of it.
The old man once had his happiness in life – he married her. They spent years together and he has memories to show of it.
The mother has unconditional love for her daughter and she realised that at the end – they gave each other happiness.
The cleaner could have been like his neighbour; someone corporate with a good salary. But he realised that happiness was already in his palm.
We chase after the conventional concept of happiness all the time, you and I. We think that once we get more money, more materials, more fame, more sex, more status, more power, more recognition, more friends… The list goes on…. We think that once we get all these, we would be happy.
Well, that is all fine and good – because it is the pursuit that really matters, anyhow.
However once you just about touched the prize – you will come to realise that it was because of the case & because of what kept you going; that makes you feel that feeling of happiness.
Everyone should totally watch this show – The Pursuit of Happyness.
You would see in the show the undying love & care this father had for his son – his determination to give them both a better life that kept him fueled.
You would see just how low life can bring you. And the beauty of life is that – it somehow knows when to give you just that bit of air to keep you alive.
One has to keep moving based on his/her own motivations & principles. If you chased for the prize with the wrong motivations/principles, you’d find that your prize no longer brings you any happiness.