It may come as a surprise to those who know how well I dabble in the dark arts of cynicism and sarcasm, but I am going to go out on a very unpopular limb here and say that I am a person who is generally happy.

Now I know you're all gonna go "Oh puh-leeze!" And I totally feel you folks, because if I were reading this, I'd probably be making a slow gurgling sound in the back of my throat. It's not en vogue to admit this, this happiness stuff. We live in a world where the main point of every media outlet is to expose the deep, dark secrets of anyone we think we might have the right to know about, where television shows devoted to people's despair and/or mental illnesses fill up a good chunk of broadcast time and everyone is all too eager to be the next train wreck on the reality series of their choosing.

We have the internet at our fingertips and every opportunity to air every bitch, gripe and grievance we might ever consider. And don't get me wrong, I'm really never going to miss an opportunity to join in. But we seldom take up precious bytes up to announce to the world that we are content. That things are good. That in life, there is joy. It's not popular, to be happy.

When you think about it, there aren't even many good reasons to be happy. The world seems to be settling comfortably into a large handbasket, oblivious of its final destination. Millions of gallons of oil are being leaked into the gulf and instead of trying to help or even just care, we've turned it into a political football, attempting to figure out which party carries the most blame. People seem to have forgotten the not-so-distant past when they didn't have the same rights as everyone else and are intent on doing everything they can to take rights away from others in the name of safety or security or values or some other politicized buzzword that's really just an excuse for power.

This isn't to say that there aren't bad days when I question my faith in the whole stratagem. In fact, it's probably my cynicism and sarcasm that get me through those days. Like a warm blanket on a cold day, I can pull it over me and cover up until I'm ready to face the world again. I've had sadness in my life. Sadness I cannot adequately communicate to others. I've been treated badly. Been made to shoulder other people's burdens. I've been disappointed. I've been a disappointment. There are things that I once wanted to achieve that I now don't even have the energy to think about. And when I do, it's only with the sharp pang of a realization that I'm really too tired to even care much.

But here's the thing. I could focus on that stuff - and believe me, there are days that I do - but it wouldn't be the sum total of my life. It wouldn't be a clear picture of who I am and what I've come to be. Even when I want to wallow in self pity for perceived injustices and missed opportunities, my rational brain won't let me forget that in the grand scheme of things, there have been more good days than bad. More laughter than tears. That the simple joy of One. More. Day. has been there more often than not. Yes, I've experienced loss. Loss that most people never have to think about. But I lived through it. Having wrestled with the demon and come out the other side, I am stronger, smarter, and more convicted than ever to the idea that just simply living in this world is a gift... as long as we choose to see it that way. So maybe the difference is in how I define happiness. My brand of happiness isn't the 'cheer up Daddy Warbucks, the sun'll come out tomorrow' type; it's more the kind of quiet peace that comes from realizing that when the universe is not unfolding the way it should, then maybe it's unfolding the only way it can.

God: [answering Tracy's question about why there is so much suffering in the world] I know this sounds like a cop-out, Tracy, but there's nothing I can do about pain and suffering. It's built into the system.

Tracy: Which You invented.

God: Right. But my problem was I could never figure out how to build anything with just one side to it.

Tracy: One side?

God: You ever see a front without a back?

Tracy: No.

God: A top without a bottom? Tracy Richards: No.

God: An up without a down?

Tracy: No.

God: OK! Then there can't be good without bad, life without death, pleasure without pain. That's the way it is. If I take sad away, happy has to go with it. If somebody has a better idea, I hope they put it in the suggestion box.

The truth is, I don't think anyone can experience joy without having known sadness. And deep down, I think it's probably the sadnesses that make the joys felt that much greater. I know it's possible to only focus on the downside. I know people who do this. I know that there are awful, horrible things going on in this world and I'm not trying to deny their existence. But I do believe that the moments of good outweigh the bad. We talk about the bad stuff much more, but we still believe in the good. The Pollyanna principle in action. We get so used to the things that are good in our lives, that we forget to note them as good. The bad stands out by comparison. I seldom notice the sun on my face because it happens every day. But that makes it no less a miracle that the sun is there... burning at exactly the brightness and intensity it needs to in order for life down here to continue to comfortably exist. Every day I'm given reminders that I'm loved, wanted and needed, that I have the freedom to make choices and do things and it's precisely because they happen every day that I often think of them as more of a burden than a blessing.

The hardest thing in this life... is to live in it.

And so despite my often bitter demeanor, when it comes right down to it, my brain will not let me deny what I know to be true. That I am happy. That life is generally good. That I'm grateful for what I have and that even when I'm not, I can laugh about it and somehow it becomes bearable. That's never going to stop me from seeing injustice in the world. From pointing out where it needs to improve and trying to make it a better place. But that's what we sickeningly happy people do. We recognize that we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people who sure, make mistakes, but also
can do better. The trick is to remember that the joy in life is right there waiting. All we have to do is choose it.