Are you happy? Are any of us? I don’t know. I’ve certainly felt happy in the moment, and friends know me to be easy to smile and laugh. I love a good joke, and I’d like to think I demonstrate joie de vivre.
I know I am sad. It’s clear to me. I get depressed easily. I have had panic attacks in the past and required medical assistance. I struggle with anxiety almost daily and have sleep problems.
I know I am loving. I love freely and deeply. I am the guy who cries easily. At my own wedding, I sobbed openly during the ceremony. Since becoming a father, I cry regularly in the presence of the unrestrained and infinite love that is my son. I believe if we all loved as openly as he does—and we could—we’d be transcendent. I am proud of this, if not a little embarrassed.
I know I am angry. A fractured childhood has left me with unresolved anger. It runs as a low, dark current just beneath the dirt. I am easily triggered if someone comes at me hard. I am ashamed of this, and I hide it as well as I can. I often fail.
I know I am joyful. If given a chance, I find joy in any situation. I laugh very loud when I am joyful. Joy may be the most comfortable place I visit.
I know I am fearful. I am afraid of living a diminished life. I fear conflict with others. I am terrified of violence. I mostly fear losing what is most important to me: love and health and creativity.
Am I happy? Sometimes. I was happy yesterday when I skied perfect slushy spring turns in the sunshine. I’m happy when I am left alone in silence to read a fresh Murakami novel. I’m happy when I swim in the clear rivers of Vancouver Island or jump off a tall seaside cliff into deep, salty water. I’m happy when my dog nuzzles into my neck or I’m carefully preparing an intricate meal for loved ones. I am happy when I tap into the elusive flow state on my mountain bike. And, when my wife looks at me in that way only she can, I taste it. It’s there. Fleeting, frustrating happiness. Here, and then gone.
Welcome to the Happy Issue?
—Mike Berard, Editor