It is twenty nine days to go before Christmas and the scent of Christmas morning wafts from my oil burner. Purposely thanking God that the scent of Christmas morning is now sold in a bottle. Aside from its religious significance, Christmas is like a spice pouch that flavors six weeks of my life. A spice pouch, I learned recently, is a gauze pouch where you put the spices you want to flavor your broth. When the dish is done, you take off the pouch and the broth has all the flavors that emanated from it. I don’t want to take off the pouch because I don’t think my broth is done. And then, like a gentle ring from my alarm clock, something inevitably reminds me to let go, that happiness is not distilled into one event, one accomplishment, one dream, and one spice pouch.
A couple of Christmases ago, I felt the strain of induced artificial joy. What I really wanted to do was skip the whole thing and sleep out the holiday stress, so I tried to escape to my room—only to be urged by one family member after another to join in on the festivities. Aaargh!
Happiness is a continuous as a gurgling brook. You don’t really know where it ends and where it begins. It just flows, in torrents at times, in trickles in others. Happiness is a voyage, not a destination. Growing up, I used to pretend to have fun during Christmas season. Afraid that if I made a big display of my bah humbug Scrooge-like attitude, everyone will make it their personal project to make sure you’re as possessed as they are by the Christmas spirit.
Many times we wait for something to happen before we claim happiness—high grades, a whistle-bait figure, a marriage proposal, promotion, a new car, a baby. Sometimes, we pin all expectations of happiness on getting there—somewhere. And if we do get there, we sometimes find the feeling is incomplete.
From my TV life coach Oprah (who doesn’t know it yet) and one of her expert guests, I learned that there’s such a thing as “destination addiction,” and a lot of us suffer from it. The singles fail to count their blessings, like their freedom, for instance, life can be fulfilling. For the longest time, I would think that losing weight would help me in the love department and would make my happiness beyond compare. But since it was not meant to be, I mean not bound to happen, I’ve focused instead on the wonderful gift—my nephew and the joy that he brought into our lives.
There will always be something lacking in our lives. A new house, a better cook, an LV bag, or a 50/50 vision. As the essay on happiness proclaims, “The truth is, there is no better time to be happy than right now. If not, then when?” Your life will always be full of challenges. It is better to admit as much and decide to be happy in spite of it all.