Monday, May 7, 2012

Unhitching defintions

When I try to define happiness, I realize I will never be a dictionary contributor.  It's just not in the cards.  Maybe it's because every definition of happiness I try to concoct is different.  I can't come up with one, solid definition.  Some days, I think happiness is summertime, until I sit sweltering in my car in mid-July, with my legs sticking to the inside of my Capri pants.  It's at that moment, wiping sweat from my brow, that I decide happiness is a cold, snowy winter night, tucked warm under a fleece blanket in front of the fire.  That is, until a snowstorm knocks the power...and the Internet...out. I'm lucky that I've known a lot of happiness in  the form of many time zones, temperatures, and blessings..  I'm thankful that I've had family, friends, and loved ones to support matter what make me happy!

 So, I'm left with a reasonable quandary.  What is the true definition of happiness?  Ask a child, and he'll say ice cream before dinner.  Ask a ninety-one year old grandmother, and she'll say the ability to go on a long walk without a cane.  They key is that everyone's definition is different, whether it changes or not (I'm pretty sure I will always say that Chef Boyardee is my REAL definition, ever since age five).  That's what makes this nation a wonderful place...a place where everyone can choose their own happiness.

 If I can't define happiness, I am fairly certain that I can't define love in simple terms either.  Love and happiness go hand in hand, and clearly we all don't see these abstract terms in the same light.  They are so big, so broad, so beautiful, and so overwhelming, that even we, human beings who experience them (hopefully!), cannot say what they truly are...we just know them when we feel them.

  I believe everyone has an equal right to his or her own destiny, in their own definitions, and we all deserve to have someone special there beside us, of our choosing, along for the ride.

I am reminded of the popular 1980s film, The Breakfast Club.  What makes the movie so memorable isn't the bond between the quirky characters that is foraged during a day of detention in the high school library or the infamous hallway slipping and sliding.  The real core of that movie is the last scene, when the principal finds and reads a letter from the students:

 Dear Mr. Vernon, 
We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong, but we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, a basket case,a princess,and a criminal.

Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,

The Breakfast Club.

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