When I was five years old, my birthday landed on Easter. There was an egg hunt at my uncle’s and the prize was a Golden Egg. My heart was racing with excitement as I gazed every area of the yard, looking for the prize. Suddenly it appeared, and I was presented with a $5 bill.
You would have thought Publisher’s Clearing House had shown up to my door with a big check. Stephanie, you are the winner of. . . drum roll please, FIVE DOLLARS! Taaa Daaaaa! I saw confetti, in my mind, that day.
I carried my golden egg (eh hem – boiled egg dipped in gold paint) around in a little tin bucket and took it to bed with me. Not long after my birthday, however, I discovered that in the middle of the night, ants had made their way up the wall, like a little army, and had destroyed my perfect golden egg which sat on a bookshelf. At the time, this egg represented my happiness and just like that – snap – it was gone!
Webster’s defines happiness as “a state of well being or contentment.” They didn’t say anything about a golden egg. Often times, we carry our happiness around like it’s this fragile object that can be taken away at any moment.
Hello, my name is “Surface Happy,” a “fly by the seat of my pants” friend. It’s that (wear it on your sleeve) shallow happiness. With one blow of a car horn or conversation with a rude customer service rep, everything goes to hell in a handbasket. The minute someone “bumps your happy” – BAM! – happiness leaves the building and crazy takes its place.
Don’t allow those individual circumstances – the kids scraping a little paint off your car door with their bike handles – to define your day. Happy needs deeper roots, like an oak tree planted firmly along a rushing stream. Don’t let instances beyond your control steal your happiness.
With all the places we go and the things we do, we’re constantly in-and-out of nice and not-so-nice moments. The kids make you breakfast (ah, how sweet!), a parent calls you out on something (ugh, I’m a bad mother).
Of course we’re going to feel things in the moment, but we can’t allow occasional negative instances to determine the path of our entire day. Don’t carry the isolated incident to the next situation; we have to separate it into its own box and see it for what it is. Learn to quickly slosh off the junk and embrace a sturdier, hardier, healthier happy that can’t easily be bumped, destroyed or stolen.
Your happiness is no golden egg, rather an oak tree not easily moved. Walk in deep-rooted “happy” today and when there’s a bump in the road, see it as just that: a bump. If you can hold on to being “happy in life,” you’ll feel as though Publisher’s Clearing House made you a winner, and may even see confetti in your mind. Taaa Daaaaa!
Stephanie Pletka is the creator of the blog Spit-up & Heels and is also a columnist for NorthFulton.com. She lives in Alpharetta, GA with her husband John and four children, Jack, Will, Andrew and Ava.