Saturday, July 19, 2014

Like a Room Without a Roof


Like a Room Without a Roof

When one reaches adulthood, it is difficult, if not impossible, to replicate the excitement, the sheer giddiness, once engendered by the last day of school.   On that day, summer glittered before us, an uncharted land of unimagined delights just waiting to be explored and the fact that we were being  released to do precisely that, from sunup to sundown, was known to flood us with the feeling best described as pure happiness.  With our responsibilities winnowed down to the most rudimentary - making our beds, brushing our teeth - we were set loose upon a sunny world; a world devoid of schedules; a world  in which our only concern was making sure we had the adequate amount of coinage when the lilting song of the ice cream truck drifted enticingly down our street.  We played outside.  We ate cold watermelon and fresh corn.  We slept soundly.  Summer made us happy.

Happiness is a word difficult to define. I have always found it interesting that the learned men who penned our constitution declared the pursuit of happiness to be our unalienable right but didn’t, funnily enough, give any hint as to whether or not they expected us to attain that which we could so rightfully pursue.   If the standard for happiness is the feeling we felt on that long ago last day of school, then no doubt as adults we all fall a bit short.  

But on an afternoon last week, when the temperature soared and the air hung heavy as glue, I was in my car with a list of errands on the seat beside me.  The news of the day had been bleak enough for me to turn off the radio and plug in the iPod.  And that’s when I heard the new hit song, “Happy”.  These days it’s rare that I am a fan of any song popular enough to reach the number one slot on the charts.  I still miss The Beatles.  But I had downloaded this one because I was curious and now here it was, taking its place in the rotation, ready to win me over.  Without even being cognizant of the spell it cast, I soon found myself  tapping my foot and nodding my head with a big goofy grin on my face. 

One cannot expect to be “happy” as a usual state, can one?  Happiness, elusive and momentary, is a goal perhaps best replaced by contentment.  We can reside in contentment and even, diving deeper, find joy, a state unaffected by circumstance or time.  Still,  mercurial, even whimsical, happiness can surprise us when we least expect it and we ignore it at our peril.  I myself sit ready to welcome it heartily whenever it chooses to visit me, in whatever form it chooses to take.   So on this hot afternoon, I rolled down the window of my little green Fiat and let the wind tangle my hair as I sang along, happy as a lark.

I often think summers are so different now from the carefree ones of my childhood.  But really, that’s not exactly true.  If I’m honest, happiness (described so delightfully in that new hit song as “feeling like a room without a roof”) visits me frequently.  I often dance alone in the kitchen, Edward and Apple bouncing at my ankles in a similar mood.  Though I have infinitely more responsibilities than I did as a child, summer is still a wonderful time.  I still manage to play outside.  I still enjoy cold watermelon and fresh corn.  I still sleep soundly.  And Summer still makes me, more often than not, downright happy. 
How about you?



16 comments:

  1. Happiness is ephemeral, I think. I say prayers of thanks every day for things I enjoy, both big and small and that puts me in a joyful state of mind.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you kindly for that. Yes indeed that did make me happy. Some of those 'moves' were quite extraordinary and all of them were so joyful. it took me a wee while to think who else has a sound like that, Curtis Mayfield of 'Move on Up' fame. Strangely it also made me think of the sound track to Hair the Musical.

    Jean x

    Jean

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm happy for every season and try to enjoy the various features each season offers. Music can always lift my spirit and this song is a favorite of the year for me. Who can sit still when you here it? It just makes you happy and in the mood to dance.
    xo,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love that you dance in your kitchen :-) Everyone should make time for that.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I dance in my kitchen too! It all began when my kids were little and we were waiting for the timer to go off or something to come out from the oven. It is fun, and my daughter (age30), tells me she still dances in her kitchen. I down loaded that song too. It makes me smile.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I enjoyed your perspective, Pamela. I had heard the song but have never seen the video. Terrific for a rainy summer day. Thank you for showcasing it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. There is such appalling sadness in the world at present Pamela, that sometimes it has to be good to just turn off the radio news and listen to some happy music - and dance in the kitchen.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post. As adults we spend most of our time fretting about the past or worrying about the future, and when it gets here, fretting about this moment, which is now the past, and worrying about the future, which isn't here yet. Which probably also explains why we aren't happy, because never being present in the now, means we never enjoy anything. We have memories (ie. thoughts) and we have dreams, (ie. thoughts) but we rarely take the opportunity to enjoy a song on the radio or appreciate the sweet coolness of how watermelon tastes right now, or how it feels just to splash around in a swimming pool without a thought of what we should be doing next. I wonder if summer seemed so wonderfully long because children tend to be more present in whatever moment they are in. Edward will have more insight into this I'm sure, than I do, but maybe that's why dogs and kids get along so well. xo, N.G.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes, it does make me happy. I think it has to do with being outside. Last night we had dinner on the patio with our family and the weather was perfect. No need for sweaters or wraps. It just felt so carefree and good, with nature all around us. And I love the song "Happy"!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pamela, I have a feeling your childhood has contributed to your adult happiness.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Pamela, thank you for sharing that goofy grin, - I just want to send that happy song to everyone I know!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. what a great view of life you have thanks for sharing, it made me happy ,

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your room is gorgeous!!!! With the lovely sitting area and tables and beautiful tea set…I could spend all day in there!
    apartment-by-designs

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello Pamela

    Pharell Williams and "Happy" certainly brings joy to children, teens and adults. We are loving this summer and have been spending lots of time in the great outdoors, both at the beach and on patios.
    Continued joy and happiness

    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  15. YOU make me happy Pamela. You AND your writing.

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is a happy tune and video. I think teens just feel emotions more intensely, both happy and sad. I rather prefer the emotional stability of adulthood, but it's fun to experience that positive emotional intensity sometimes. I didn't really feel like it was summer until I sent my MS to teenaged beta readers. Then I headed to the beach and rejoiced, feeling like a teen myself on summer vacation. Happy summer!

    ReplyDelete

I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!