By Robert Smith / @Mitten123
Usually, when I sit down to write, I find myself easing into a natural flow of words, sentences, and paragraphs as my mind ebbs and flows its contents onto the pages like a calm river on its journey towards fulfilling the knowledge of the sea. However, when I tried to sit down and think how to write about happiness as a trait, I found myself hit with a challenge that I wasn’t sure how to overcome.
I was asking myself “what is happiness?” It seemed the natural point to start with, if I could answer that then I will be able to build on it and produce an engaging piece. For hours I contemplated it, on a walk, in a coffee shop and even whist trying to set off to sleep. Yet I was not managing to make any progress and my coffee shop bills were getting out of hand.
I realised trying to simply answer “what is happiness” was not what my instinct was actually telling me to do. My instinct was telling me to share what I have learnt about happiness since becoming a parent.
Is it fair to say I am experiencing greater levels of happiness since becoming a parent? Being honest with you all I don’t think I can answer that. Before my son was born myself and Anna were definitely in very happy marriage. We loved each other and laughed together every day. I think rather than saying my happiness has increased I would rather say that parenthood has enabled me to uncover more layers of happiness.
The choice of words ‘more layers’ is important in enabling me to emphasise my point on what I have learnt about happiness since becoming a parent. I’ve discovered a new depth to happiness. My son has unlocked more ways of accessing that great feeling, that great emotion than I had ever encountered before. Yet as a parent I have had to make sure that I was there to discover and peel those layers back for myself to see.
In the modern world, we can often chase happiness through the acquisition of material objects. Parenthood has shown me just how futile that chase can be. Objects can bring moments of joy and satisfaction, yes, but I don’t believe they can bring happiness.
I say that because on my journey I feel I have learnt that being happy isn’t something that can be placed into one single moment, but rather it is a sustained feeling and therefore for it to truly be part of your life you need to make time for it to be there. You need to take ownership and make sure you are making time for what is most important to you and your family.
Today we always seem in a such a hurry to achieve anything, whether it be work or personal goals. Whole industries are geared towards convenience and linearity and we are embracing it willingly, I embrace it willingly. However, one of the most beautiful lessons of parenthood I have learnt is to just meander through it, letting the current take you wherever it may. There is no need to rush parenting, just let your child blossom at their own pace with your love and support.
If I can pass this message onto my son and any other children I am blessed to be a parent too then I believe I will be giving them the best platform to make the right decisions for themselves, to absorb the special moments they experience and to ultimately lead a life where, rather than rushing through it and not letting happiness through the door, they manage to welcome it in with open arms, embrace it and cherish their lives with it.