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Can You Truly Be Happy As Your Younger Self?

How do we really know it? And what is it anyway?

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! Ah, if only it was still that easy.

When you’re a kid, happiness seems so simple. It takes only to hear the phone ring on a school night in February, to hear the voicemail from the principal announcing tomorrow is a snow day–boom, happy. You run downstairs Christmas morning to see Santa ate every cookie you left for him–boom, happy. Though the feeling is, most times fleeting, you have the comfort of knowing it’s never too far away. Something will come along like an unexpected pizza date with your grandpa, and make you feel it all over again.

But then you grow up and you find yourself on the cusp of ~adulthood~ and suddenly, it takes more than a new Lego set or a snow day to make you happy. It doesn’t feel like it happens quite as often or quite as easily as it did in the past.

Happiness is no longer a lasting spark of excitement and joy, well maybe it still is, but you spend your young adult life trying to figure out how to turn that spark into an eternal flame.

Happiness is your pursuit, and you find yourself scrolling through a “How to be Happy” wikiHow article at 2am on a Tuesday. Then you spiral into an unending array of questions like, is it truly happiness if I have to try?

It’s no secret wealth could mask itself as happiness, as does convenience, pleasure, and success. As hard as it is to decipher what the universal definition of happiness is, it’s even more difficult what it means to you, because it’s not really “one size fits all.”

As children, our imagination’s were an innocent source of happiness. The sky was the limit. There was no place I couldn’t travel; no fantasy I couldn’t craft. If it was raining and gray outside, I could transport myself to a sunny field of daisies or pick up a crayon and draw myself on the beach. It was so simple to rely on the imagination.

However, as we grow up, reality takes over, and life is no longer so simple. But does that mean we need to abandon our imagination forever? Why should we? Imagination is just as powerful as reality. When you can imagine, everything seems so possible again.

Happiness becomes whatever you want it to be, and that’s really what it is.

Channel what makes you happy. Whether it’s blasting Celion Dion in your car on the way to work, eating half a box of Krispy Kremes with your feet up on the couch, or talking to your best friend on Facetime for 3 hours. It doesn’t have to be something big or major.

Finding a shiny, heads up penny on the sidewalk makes me happy. It’s kinda stupid and it’s entirely up to fate, but that’s what I like about it. It makes me feel chosen in a sense. And when I find one, or the penny finds me, I feel happy and excited all at the same time, and it reminds me how much I love to feel that way.

It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s happiness. Especially when you’re on Instagram scrolling through hundreds of pictures of peoples’ seemingly perfect lives. But the smoke and mirrors of social media are no measure of your life or its worth.

When we find ourselves in this state of mind, we have to pretend we’re kids again. When appearances and money didn’t matter half as much as what flavor Dum Dum was hiding under the mystery wrapping.

So many times we make happiness too hard for ourselves, we over complicate it. But it’s really simple. Embrace whatever it is that makes you happy and excited about life, because it’s all so fragile and unpredictable.

I know YOLO is so 2012, but seriously! Zac Efron had the right idea tattooing the slogan on his hand. You only live once, so surround yourself with people who make you feel good, channel what brings you excitement, take every opportunity presented to you (yes, even if it’s scary), and savor the flavor of that mystery Dum Dum pop, even if it’s (wrapper crinkling open)… grape.


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