What Is Your Happiness?

Photos By Allison Arterburn


Happiness is different for everyone. What makes me happy and keeps me going is different than what makes others happy. But that is why human happiness is so interesting from person to person. We all go through different things at different parts of our lives.


I believe happiness can be fleeting. Nobody stays happy all the time, but little moments in life spark the feeling. Bad days happen and nothing usually goes our way, but the people we surround ourselves with embody emotions like happiness.


I find happiness in Taylor Swift music and concerts, getting lost in a book when I should be writing a Her Campus article, and dancing around my room early in the morning getting ready for the day. My happiness depends on others but also depends on myself.


Music and lyrics put a smile on my face and sparks back in my eyes when life and everything in between tears me down. A Polaroid camera and pictures solidify the memories I have created these past few years. My happiness is my family in good times and in tragedy.


My happiness is sitting at the table right by the back door at my grandparent’s house. Pop sitting right across from me and Grandma at the head of the table. The smell of coffee brewing in the morning as light cascades through the windows in the family room.


“The Today Show” playing in the background and the paper rumples as Pop asks me what "How I Met Your Mother" is about. He never understood the concept, but I explained the show to him any way. We eat the rest of our breakfast in comfortable silence as the morning sun rises outside. In this moment I am at my happiest.


My happiness was Christmas Eve at my grandparents. While decorating was never my favorite, and I always got stuck with the creepy porcelain dolls, Christmas was always memorable.


Layers to keep us warm in the cold get put in the middle bedroom as presents are hidden away in the closets. My extended family starts piling into the house as the kitchen starts smelling of delicious homemade smorgasbord of Mexican food. Over thirty of us are talking over one another as we devour the food.


Later in the evening, I got stuck in the family room watching "A Christmas Story" on a loop while we impatiently wait to open presents.


As the clock struck eleven, all of us are ushered into the back room while the adults struggled to make personalized mountains out of presents.


Walking back into the family room full of wrapped gifts today feels like a dream. Multiple piles were stacked over my head as I walked through to find my own pile. The anticipation was always the worst.


The rule was we had to wait for Grandma to open all of her gifts before we started throwing scraps of wrapping paper all over. She always wanted to save her wrapping paper, so she would carefully unstick tape on each side of the gift and unfold the wrapping paper. After the second present my mom had enough and would just go over and “accidentally” rip the paper that was carefully being unwrapped. That was our signal to start.


The gifts all unwrapped and being stowed into cars as we say goodbye to everybody near midnight and make our way back to our own homes. We gather our stuff and climb the stairs as another successful Christmas has ended.


My happiness is my parents. Calling my mom each day to talk about nothing. So much changes while I am here that it can be hard to keep up. Hearing my mom laugh as I slip to the ground at the Louisville airport because I looked like a turtle. My brother getting me obsessed with the shows he is watching. My dad driving all the way here just to drive all the way back home with me in one day.


Most of my happiness comes from memories like these. Memories I have collected throughout 22 years of life keep me happy and going. Finding old pictures of my grandparents when they were my age today. Hanging them all up in my room next to the Polaroids I have taken of my life.


My happiness is always fleeting in and out like everybody else’s. I have my days where my laziness takes over. Days where life seems to use me as a punching bag. Most days though are spent like the ones mentioned.


Days spent reading an entire novel in one day because I cannot put a book down. We always want to hide the bad from others and share the good moments. Happiness creates that bond with others. Happiness shows that life is not always as bad as we make it out to be.


Your happiness might be different, or the feeling might be the same. The memories I am going to create with others might have a different story to them but the feeling might be the same depending on the memory.


What is your happiness?