I dropped my son off at school this morning: the last day of school before summer break. A yawning, three month span of unstructured time begins for him this afternoon. Not for me, though: the day job, the deadlines, the work politics, the family and home organizing, the cooking and cleaning—those will continue all summer long. Adults don’t get summer breaks. And yet, The Happy flowing off all those excited kids and smiling, waving teachers was infectious. After driving away from the school, I waited patiently as the driver in front of me braked and swerved and did a U-turn and held up traffic. I watched with the interest of a preschooler as a road crew stopped traffic so an excavator could cross the road. I noticed the squeaky strings of the guitar solo on the song playing on the radio. The sky was blue; not something to be taken for granted on a June morning in the PNW. The Happy was running deep in me.
The Happy is a warm rush of content. The absence of fear and anxiety. The love for your fellow man. The desire to nurture every living being. The knowledge that you are a part of everything: the dirt and trees, the sky and ocean, the road workers and your fellow drivers, the teachers and students, your book club and work group. You feel accepted and loved for who you are, and you are satisfied to just-be in the world.
Within a few minutes, my thoughts turned to the day’s responsibilities: documents to edit; dinner to plan; volunteer obligations to fulfill; household jobs to accomplish. I’m also one of those for whom no day is complete without worrying about the responsibilities of next week and next month, so I began making mental contingency plans for everything and anything that could possibly happen in my little world. The Happy was rapidly evaporating.
And then I recognized The Happy. I named it. I grasped onto The Happy tightly, and then I gently released it. But I had named it and because I did, I remember it. And it was wonderful while it lasted. Maybe I’ll feel it again later today. Or tomorrow. And I’ll welcome it back with open arms: my old friend, The Happy.
I hope you feel The Happy today. If you do, name it.