Monday, January 14, 2008

Different kinds of happy

I just finished watching Sweet Land, a little-known but charming film about a German mail-order bride who comes to marry a Norwegian in small town Minnesota, set in the 1920s. In one scene, a friend is trying to tell her to look 'happy' for the camera as he takes a picture, but is confused as he tries to translate, because there are multiple words for 'happy' in Norwegian. As is explained in the movie, that's because there are 'different kinds of happy'.

Indeed. There's happy, and then there's delighted. Like a kid's love for 'candy and fresh snow' as Dave Mathews would put it.

Then there's joyous. For those times when the happiness has to be shared in order to be experienced.

There's excited. For anticipated happiness - there is nothing to match this feeling, because it comes laden with hope and energy, which by themselves are fruitless pursuits but in combination, make for a synergy that's unbeatable.

There's elated, for those times when happiness comes with a magic carpet for you to ride on. And you have to let yourself be taken where it's headed, because you know it's going to let you off soon...this too shall pass.

Then there's ecstatic, which should be reserved for use in a lifetime - maybe there's a quota ecstatic moments we are allowed in a single lifetime, and we live your life in pursuit of those.

I'm not sure where ecstasy ends and euphoria begins. And this time it's not about drugs and rock-n-roll (if it were, it'd be Ecstasy and Euphoria, right?). Maybe euphoria is a kind of quiet but intense happiness.

How about glee? And pleasure? And mirth? Nobody should be denied those kinds of innocent, clean, pure happiness...

Somewhere along the low side of the intensity continuum is 'glad'. A word that was invented less for polite conversation ("Glad to meet you") and more for expressing that something or someone is capable of changing your mood and your life.

And then there's content and satisfied, which is possibly what it's all about. Beatific feelings of serenity and all that...Contentment is probably the hardest kind of happiness to find in this world. And the more you chase it the more elusive it gets.

It's probably best to remember that happiness, like sadness, is fleeting. The best you can do is store up enough happy moments to tip the balance in your search for 'happily forever'. After all, forever is but a series of nows.


Blogger Parth said...

Then there's super-happy which people in a certain company in a certain northwest corner of the US feel.

11:40 AM  
Blogger RTD2 said...

I thought it was super-excited :)

12:20 AM  

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