3 am chat [happiness]

Work up at three in the morning. No alarm. No noise from the neighbor. I just woke up as if it’s routine. It’s definitely not.

I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to work. All I did from some time is stare numbly as the wall. I wrote about peaceful evenings. This time, I could zoom in to “moments”. There’s no wailing from the neighbors’ infants. We have two newborns in the neighborhood, none I know personally. There’s no stray dog making a mess out of our compound trash. It was too early for a surround sound movie viewing from the other neighbor. There was silence. I was up before the sun. The mind was clear of worries because it was nearly not functioning. I liked that state.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t last long. Before you can control it, you start thinking of   life matters. The more general things you never really get to think about because you’re to engrossed cramming for the day’s deliverables or the next deadline.

It a time for reflection. A feedback session with the self. It’s never really a good feeling. I have no way of knowing which decisions were the right ones or where I may have done wrong. It’s not an exam with answers that are quantified and comparable through time.

“Are you happy? more happy?” I asked. “Well, I’m not miserable,” came an answer. And yes, in case you were wondering, I’m having a conversation with me.

Does being not miserable make you happy then?

No. Of course not. I never claimed to be “happy”. What does that mean anyway? Happiness?

I dunno. Do you feel better about things? Or maybe some specific aspects – work, finances, relationships, …? Do you have more things to be grateful for?

I think so. If not, whatever have I been doing all these time since you last asked about “happiness”? I have more things to be grateful for.

What about regrets? Do you have more regrets now?

Not much has changed. It’s not about having more or less of it. I just thought I should make better use of time than to wallow in regrets. What’s done is done. Thinking about what-could-have-beens will not change anything.

 Are you happy?

You have asked that earlier. Don’t you have other questions.

Yes. Yes I have asked it earlier – and perhaps a thousand more times before earlier. But I haven’t had any sound answer. It’s a simple yes or no question. Are you happy?

You’re right. It’s so simple. It’s that simple that I wonder if it’s even possible to simplify everything about one’s life in a two- or three-letter word response. I say “yes” and I’d be covering up all those times I’d would rather not think about. I say “no” and I’d be unappreciative of everything I’ve been blessed with. Happiness is vague. It’s fleeting. The levels varies for every moment. The reasons change. I can think of happy moments and for a few seconds I’d be happy. But once the memory clip has run and I’m back to the now, I cannot help but realize how different this now is from that happy clip. The feelings are anything but happy.

What then would make you happy?

… <Pause> I really don’t know. I’m not sure. I do not know.

Then what is it you want the most?

Will getting what I want ensure my happiness?

Hmmn… It will at least contribute to it.

But is it not that whatever contributes to your happiness can also contribute to pain or sadness or whatever is at the other end of the same spectrum?

You argue like this at three in the morning?!

That’s exactly the reason. You dare ask me this type of questions at this ungodly hour?! – and expect sound responses. This brain’s barely processing. But you’re evading the question.

Can’t we just agree to stop at this point?

Hah! So you have no answer? Just admit so.

Whatever you may be thinking, even I’m scared of me. Here I was looking forward to a laid back and relaxing morning.