The song of the last few months has been Happy by Pharrell Williams. You can’t turn on a radio without hearing the catchy tune, creating instant ear worms wherever it goes. Countless parodies have been born on YouTube, each more outrageous than the last, but the familiar rhythm stays true, always bringing you back. Happy.

It’s not a song I’ve been drawn to. I can appreciate the upbeat lyrics and the simplicity, I see why people like it. But it’s just not me. That probably doesn’t surprise many people. I’m not a naturally happy person, maybe that’s why.

Maybe I think it oversimplifies happiness, that ever elusive state. It reminds me of that song we all sung as kids, “if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”. Can it really be as easy as just singing a song and clapping your hands? Surely not.

Happiness seems like such a fleeting thing. That moment when you catch yourself smiling for no reason, when you pass that smile on.

When you think ahead and you can see clearly, instead of feeling crowded by cotton wool blocking your view.

When you’re able to roll with the tumbles that life throws at you, even just once or twice, and know that you’re better for it.

When you hear the pride in your child’s voice as they’ve mastered something, the delight as they discover something new, or heard them laugh till it trickles into giggles.

When you know you’ve made a good decision, that your hard work is paying off.

I find that you can bask in it for a moment or two, but if you reach out to catch it or stare at it too long, it slips away. Gone again, yet always sought.

People talk about the journey not the destination. I hate that phrase, journey, it always reminds me of some cheesy reality TV star. But there is some truth in that saying.

If we’re always seeking that ‘happy place’, the perfect endless moment, the one that comes once you’ve achieved everything else; what will we miss along the way?

Maybe that’s what the song is. Simply a moment, a fleeting glance at a happy man with a big hat, who wears a passing smile.

Maybe I’m missing the point completely and overthinking it as per normal. Probably.

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  1. I think ‘happy’ is an idea that lots of people aspire to without realising that sometimes this is as good as it gets. I don’t mean that in a negative way – more that we spend so much time thinking ‘I’ll be happy when this happens or that happens’. The truth is I’ve been on my dream holiday and felt pretty bloody sad; conversely I’ve felt elated in the simplest of moments that didn’t cost me a cent.
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  2. Sharron Redmond says:

    I’m pretty sure you just described me perfectly Renee , I knew I liked you for a reason . I have exactly the same thoughts about “happy” and just thought I must be a miserable old git ! Perhaps there are more of us out there 😀 .

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