I stumbled across an old mix-tape last night while searching through a shoe-box full of trinkets and miscellaneous small items. Out of curiosity I popped it into the ghetto blaster. After several songs into the first side, “Kodachrome” by Paul Simon played.
After the song ended, I couldn’t help but rewind the tape in order to hear it again. I leaned back on the sofa, closed my eyes, and simply let the happy memories flood through me.
There were so many ingredients that enhanced my happiness that year. I had reconnected with a second cousin and her son, then was invited to share their apartment. I had started a new job in Palo Alto at Hewlett Packard. I was living in the Bay Area where there was an incredible progressive vibe and the energy of progress. Ever present was San Francisco–my favorite city on Earth. My young life was in the process of blooming. Happiness prevailed that year.
So, yes, “Kodachrome” is a jolt of happiness. The emotion stays with me long after the short tune is finished.
Fond, positive memories do trigger emotional happiness. Oftentimes, happy memories are followed by melancholic yearning and nostalgia in most people’s minds. Last night’s memories were simply positive and happy. There was no wishing to return to 1973 in a time machine. The memories were enough. I went to sleep last night with a satisfied smile on my face.
“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”–Franklin D. Roosevelt
To be truly happy, we cannot rely upon nostalgic memories. Nostalgia is a filtered view of the past that can enable feelings of dissatisfaction with the present moment. The never-ending human search for happiness may begin in the fantasies of the past, but ongoing happiness is fortified by living in the now.
I feel immense gratitude about 1973. That was a wake-up year but it was only the beginning of the chain-reaction of adulthood. The ongoing gratefulness puts everything into perspective. It has been at the roots of courage, friendships, well-being, contentment, and an evolving spirituality. All of these have contributed to happiness. The takeaway is how I ideally choose to view life in its hard times and its pleasant times.
In my opinion, life is a creative process that includes curiosity and daring. When we add peace of mind and love, happiness is the result.
There’s something else. We are better off not overthinking about happiness. It’s best when we simply allow it to happen.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes essayist, poet, and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau. “There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.”