Years ago I went over to my parent’s house and my nephew was there playing with my dad. He was three years old at the time (my nephew, not my dad). My mother was in the kitchen leaning with her folded arms over the kitchen counter looking into the living room watching them and smiling. My dad was tossing my nephew into the air than catching him again. When my nephew was in the air he'd laugh and squeal and then he'd land in my dad’s hands and he would look happily and expectantly at him with his fingertips in his mouth. Then he'd be airborne again and life would be hysterical once more.
I watched a couple of these revolutions and then I went into the kitchen and kissed my moms cheek. I said to her about my nephew, "that's a brave little boy. Daddy's throwing him pretty high. I'm surprised he's not afraid."
My mom continued leaning and watching and smiling and said, "he's not brave. He just doesn't know there's any reason to be afraid. He's never been dropped before."
I think that explanation of happiness or the lack of it explains so much in life.
* This essay was first published in Anti-heroin Chic.