I am not a real expert on the subject of “Happiness” although I will admit that in my lifetime I have experienced a lot of it and sometimes I have turned what might have been happiness into total shit.
I think my first realization of happiness was something that I didn’t recognize as happiness until a lot of years had passed and I looked back on it. What I am talking about here is the often and sudden appearances of the faces and forms of my parents and grandparents …. and out pet cat.
Another happy time back then in infancy was almost the same as a similar happy time in later life — the times I would become aware of my feeble little erections. I must admit though, that the context of these occurrences was a lot less understood and therefore enjoyed as they were once I had accumulated enough raging hormones to deal with the complexities of puberty.
But that is another story entirely.
As a child I kind of got the idea that the concept of happiness, although not well defined in terms that I could understand at the time, was something that was supposed to be exclusively mine. In those early developmental times I had no idea of the need to try to cause happiness for other people. I was a true happiness hog!
I came to understand, very early on, that if I squinched my face into some contortion, it would bring a chuckle from Mom or Dad or Aunt Grace. That, in turn, created a sense of satisfaction for my budding ego. I discovered that people would laugh out loud if I would say such things as “Damn!” or “Dammit” or even the ultimate shocker, “F**k!”
I had my little mouth washed out with a lot of soap back then.
All the fawning and groping and caressing that a younger person is always subject to receiving from adoring adults was plentifully imparted to me when I was a small child — Old ladies would smile, pat me gently on the head and inquire as to whether or not I wanted a cookie.”
I have noticed lately that if I am not very careful about how I approach old ladies these days, the end result might be me getting hit over the head with a purse or some screeching relic threatening to call the law on me.
The tone, temperament and opportunities for happy exchanges do definitely change with the passing of time.
In my teen years, I remember that a lot of people …. old men, young men, older ladies, younger ladies, all seemed to have some kind of attraction to pinching my buttocks or laying their hand gently on my leg while purring some vague words designed to hold my attention long enough for them to do their thing.
Some of these events were happy and some were frightening.
Early in life I was given to understand that going to church was supposed to be an occasion for great happiness.
Not understanding what the collection plate in church services was for, I was indeed happy to carefully withdraw a single coin or two when the plate was passed, very graciously and dutifully thanking the person who passed the plate my way.
It was a not so happy occasion when I was finally cornered by an elder of the church and informed, “The collection plate is not for taking money out of, John. It is for putting money into.”
Thus ended one happy experience.
The day the minister of another church decided to share the Love of Jesus with me by fondling and groping me became another incident of unhappiness.
It is said that an effort to provide happiness to other people is to lift ourselves above ourselves.
I am afraid that in the case of the horny preachers and some of the elderly ladies of the time, I did not do a really good job of lifting myself above myself.
Even today I am not sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.
I sensed that my parents and grandparents and cousins all loved me although I had no earthly idea of what love was. I knew instinctively that love must mean something connected to loving others and being loved in return. It took me until full maturity to understand that Love is more than physical attraction but transcends all that and becomes something frothing and foaming somewhere in the depths of spirit and soul.
As a teen aged boy, and as a young adult male, it came as something of a shock to me to learn that Love was not defined entirely in terms of groin-based sensations. It was kind of a disturbing realization. It was a realization that added a new dimension to my existence … the dawning of the realization for the need for me to add “Responsibility” to my life concepts.
Today my sense of happiness has resolved itself to simple terms …. Just let me be and let Life flow on and allow me to cast a line into the seas of possibility and snag a few tidbits of joy from time to time.
Therewith am I content these days.