There is a resurgence in the quest for happiness. But not the silly, giddy, just smile and all will be well kind of happiness. Not the doped up/medication induced zombie wife false happiness of the mythical suburban housewife stereotypes.
No. This is a search for the happiness that comes as a part of everyday life. The happiness that occurs in tandem with life, in tandem with the struggles and the sun and the clouds and the traffic and the kids/cats/dogs/partners/work. And so on.
Revisiting the idea of happiness was first sparked by Ariel Gore's newest book, Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness. She does an excellent job of looking at, obviously, women and happiness - across a span of time and sharing academic and literary resources, as well as results of her own research and focus group, all mixed in with her own experiences. It's a nice journey through the field of women's happiness from the 70's to the present - insightful and honest with good feminist analysis of how others have tried to tell us what happiness is. And they haven't always been right.
So - back to what I was saying.
Ariel's book has sparked several conversations and blog posts around this topic. Emi Ha started a new blog (or re-titled her previous one) and gave it a new focus: Are You Happy Now? She has been writing about Bluebird for a few weeks - well, including it in the posts, along with two other related books she has been reading.
This conversation and reading about happiness has got me thinking about it, too. I'm definitely a skeptic of the "all you have to do is think it and it will be so" mode of improving one's life. "Smile and the world smiles with you" seems like a set-up and "fake it til you make it" may have its uses, but it's also a set-up for major sad feelings at least if it doesn't go the way you think or the thing you're faking turns out to not really be You. Practical and appropriate uses of that - yes; and it's been over used and sometimes people miss the action that has to happen concurrently or as a result of the thinking well.
From Bluebird, I decided I'd start trying to notice the positive, too. It doesn't negate that not everything is perfect or exactly what I think I want - but it would help me start paying attention equally to what is working or when I feel good. Notice it and do it more.
The first line on today's post at "Are You Happy Now?" is:
It's amazing to me how so something seemingly small and insignificant can(feel free to hop on over to her blog to see what the small, insignificant happiness-inducing thing is!)
make a person so happy.