So, I am sitting in my hotel room booked for a wedding on Saturday and thinking about what to write. It’s my free day, I never get one, so I am excited to have a whole day doing nothing and playing Bruno mars “lazy song”. I looked at the drafts of things I’d like to write in future and decided I would write from my heart instead.


I think I chose this topic because of how I felt. The moment I stepped into the hotel I became instantly happy, the chandelier, elevator ride, bathtub and everything else screamed luxury.

This is exciting for me because I live in the hostel dorm. I hate every minute there and I always look forward to leaving. The only reason I enjoyed being in the hostel is because of my friends. I have the luxury of visiting my friends whenever I want. Aside from that, everything else sucks. The room is crappy and there is no privacy. The bathrooms are so terrible you can’t even pick a bar of medicated soap that falls down because you are not sure if the antimicrobial included are enough to kill all the germs on the bathroom floor.

The poor living conditions in the hostel makes me look forward to graduation. I write for an interior decor website and I feel hypocritical when I consider my environment. But, It allows me to dream. I have a catalogue of the kind of home I would love to live in.

This weekend’s get-away made me feel like I was in some kind of movie. Everything I have ever wanted, paintings hung on my wall, beige colored walls, functional lighting system that also has aesthetic value and of course a bathroom where I am not scared of things dropping.

Barely one hour after floating in some kind of space. It’s like I am back to earth and everything looks normal. I can’t find the happiness I had an hour ago. Yes, I am very comfortable and I won’t trade here for that crappy hostel, but it got me thinking.

I thought about all the times I have felt happy, and how often short lived they felt. Or weird. I decided to write about it.

So here we are.

Before I dive into what I have learnt from being happy. Let’s define happiness.


Merriam Webster had different definitions of what happiness is. I think the first two would resonate with many of us.

  • a state of well-being and contentment
  • a pleasurable or satisfying experience

Happiness for me, is more of the first. It’s that state of bliss, where I feel at one with the universe, content at where I am at that very moment.

Growing up, I have had a different definition of what happiness is, but as I turn older I realized happiness was more than what my 16 year old mind imagined. Happiness is not singular, neither is it constant. Sometimes, happiness simply is.

Okay, now let’s dive into it.

Here are 4 things I have discovered about HAPPINESS.


You have probably heard this in several places and of course many self help books but I can assure you that this is true.I know this first hand.

I am a planner. I live for the future. Sometimes I even forget that in every moment I am at now, was a distant future not so long ago.

My mantra was always ” work now, play later” as though work ever ends.

I keep setting goals and when I get to it, the happiness is so little that I wonder why I bother anyway.

I have always obsessed about a 5.0 GPA for example. It seems like one big goal that would make me happy and give me a sense of achievement.

I remember when I had seen all my results for that session and had a copy of the transcript of my results. I just stared at it, feeling nothing. Yes, there was pride in my achievement but no bubbly feelings. Nothing like that. I wanted to feel something, I had worked hard for this, it was a goal off my list, but still nothing at all. I felt cheated.

This is not the first time something like this is happening and it certainly was not the last. I look forward to something for months, and then it comes and has the effrontery to leave me happy and bubbly for barely 5 minutes and then disappears. Like how dare you? I have waited for this moment for years and you can’t even make me happy the whole day?

What then was the use for the struggle for happiness?

I have discovered and I am still discovering that happiness is in the moment. That moment when I solve a tough equation and feel bubbly or finished a huge material and I am glad I can tick it off my list. Those little walks I have after studying without worries because I have met my goals for that day. The feeling I get when I am in the library and see so many books and too little time. My happiness was never about the end goal, my happiness is in the tiny victories that lead to the big goals and even in the distractions I had while trying to be focused.


Whenever my friend Onyeka and I are discussing the topic “happiness”, she would always say she wonders why people always want to impose a certain definition of what should make her happy.

I have always believed people who try to impose a certain idea of happiness on others are guilty of the fallacy of hasty generalization. Just because something makes you happy doesn’t mean I would feel the same way. People are wired differently. We need to respect this.

I, for instance, hate going to clubs or parties, and people often think I am missing out on something life changing, that would make me happy or feel good. 
I feel the exact opposite, I hate noise-loud music and staying awake for a reason I couldn’t care less about. I prefer the quiet. I’d rather stay at the library, or at home reading my favorite author or watching a movie than doing that and it could still make me happy.

Reason is not far fetched, happiness is personalized. No one can experience it for you.

Take for instance, that song that warmed your heart, you can’t wait to share it with your friends. When they finally do listen to it, they look at you like…what the heck? I just don’t get it. But you do, you like the chords, the way the melody flows, you like the lyrics and the way it makes your soul feel so light. You see it and can’t imagine why they don’t.

So, I have learnt not to impose what I think constitutes happiness to me on others and I also don’t let people tell me what would or would not make me happy. Life is too short.

Yes, I am open to trying new things (well, sometimes) but without the pressure that I need to like it simply because others do.


You are probably thinking what does she mean by that. Wait let me explain.

I am guilty of dichotomy. Seeing the world in black and white. Good and bad. I find it hard to see the grey side of life. Still unlearning that.

I have learnt over the years that the same thing that could make me happy today might make me feel like throwing up the next and vice versa.

One event could bring mixed emotions and that doesn’t invalidate the feelings of happiness you had.

I have a friend that sparks conflicting feelings of happiness and regret. It’s one person with the same event, sparking different emotions looking back. Sometimes it warms my heart and I am transported to the feeling of happiness I had felt in that moment. Other days, I feel so much anger thinking about the same event.

At first, I thought I must be bipolar, but then I realized, that’s the thing about events that makes one happy. It’s neither this nor that. It could be whatever it chooses to be. You can see the same thing and feel different things. Happiness is really not just black or white. It could be in the grey. Adele was right when she sang these lines in someone like you “Regrets and mistakes, they’re memories made..Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?”


Sometimes, I feel we sometimes expect so much from happiness, especially in it’s duration.But, I have learnt happiness can be short lived too and that is okay.

Think back to those moments in time where you felt so happy and light headed and you want it to last forever, but it didn’t. And you just regret it now, and wish you hadn’t bothered. I think you shouldn’t. Happiness is in the bits and every little time spent to make your heart warm matters.

I watched a Ted-talk about people’s last on earth. The happiness they dwelt on in their last moment. I don’t think it matters if it was just for one minute, but it was enough to comfort them at the end of it all.

So I think we should embrace happiness, even if it lasts for one second. I am learning this too.

I should say something wise to summarize this write up, but I would leave you just thinking.

What does happiness mean to you? And what have you noticed about the pursuit of happiness?