I was on my way back to Lagos when I saw these words on a billboard:
“When Life Happens, Still Be Happy.”
I thought it to be strange at first because of the word “Still.” Why would someone want you to still be happy when life happens? But then I realized that there are two right questions and that wasn’t one of them.
The first is: What does it mean for life to happen? It was obvious whatever this “life” is, it had to be negative because of the use of “still”. So I thought about my life.
I recently just got back from the South-Eastern part of the country where I had been for the larger part of a year. It was a rural area and there were various challenges I experienced, the major part being that there was little to no electricity where I stayed for practically a whole year which made it quite a challenge for me, an internet person, to stay in touch with everything outside of that little town.
But that was not all.After about two months there, my phone’s screen broke and because there was no light, the generator I was using to charge damaged my laptop’s battery so much that it couldn’t last for thirty minutes without being connected to an outlet.
I was in a village. But that was not the main issue because when I was in Lagos, a mega-city I barely went out. I would stay indoors and stay on my phone and/or laptop. When I wasn’t watching a movie, I was either writing or connected to the internet. That was basically how I lived.
But now there was a serious challenge for me – I was out of touch with my world! So after a few months, I went out of town and fixed my phone’s screen. That was in September. Then come January, the screen got damaged again.
But that;s nothing, you’d say. People are having real life problems, and here you are complaining about not being able to connect to the internet.
Well, you’re probably right…scratch that – you’re definitely right. But that was my experience. I am not a people’s person, not really. I don’t like to sit and listen to people yap about soccer, the economy, difficulties they faced, the girls they liked; it’s a waste of time. So I write. That’s MY life.
And I can say “Life happened.”
For someone else, it could be losing a job or being neck-deep in debts or being seriously sick or it could be battling depression or any other thing out there that’s bad.
Okay, so now it’s clear what it means for life to happen which now leads to the second question: is it possible to be happy under such circumstances? And if so, how can someone ‘still be happy’ when such things happened? And I don’t mean a facade. No, not the illusion of being happy that people wear on their faces. I mean the real kind of happy deep down within you. Is it possible to have a calm within a raging storm?
Well, this one isn’t as straightforward as the first one.
What makes us happy? Is it our circumstances? Is it the people in our lives? Or is the thoughts we allow to permeate into our minds?
Whatever it is, is it something we can control?? I must point out here that whatever our subject “life” is, it definitely is something most certainly out of our control, something that happens based on various factors, some, our doings but most parts are out of our control. That being said, whatever it is that makes us happy, is it something we can control?
At this point, I believe that is the most crucial question, because if we can answer it, then our original statement makes perfect sense. If you can control what makes you happy, then it doesn’t matter what life throws your way, it doesn’t matter how ugly your life seems to be, it doesn’t matter that you’re overwhelmed with debts, it doesn’t even matter that you can’t seem to figure out what tomorrow holds for you and what you want to do with your life beyond the coming lunch, if you can control what makes you happy, when life happens, then you’ll still be happy.
Which brings us to the soul-searching section. This is where you look at your life and analyse every bit of it. Have you tied your happiness to a material thing or to a person or to your job? Is the source of your happiness money? Is it some other replaceable thing?
If so, I’m sorry to say that, you’ve got your happiness a very weak anchor!
What happens when you stop having money for whatever reason? What happens when the person leaves? What happens when ‘life happens’?
It is crucial to realise that life is not what we cook up in our heads. Rather, life is a machine that follows a rule of ‘action and reaction’, the law of Karma in which sometimes, you get to move the first piece and other times, life moves first. A complex and intricate machine which does not only read your actions in relation to you but other people’s actions also sometimes affect yours.
Life is a game and the best players are those that know that, it is just a game and can separate the essential chips from the dispensable.
Your happiness is an essential element for survival. Life will happen with or without your happiness.
What’s left to be said?
When Life Happens, Be a Smart Player and Still Be Happy.