I keep coming back to this quotation and only now have I realized why it keeps drawing me in: it is because I have experienced the exact moment that is being equated to happiness — and I’m unsure whether I agree with the statement or not. It is not a moment I would immediately consider as “happy”. My moment of “happiness” took place five years ago, either late in the night of July 1st or very early morning of July 2nd. I can be specific as to the date because it was during a summer vacation through Europe, and at that time it was Canada Day and we were spending the day touring Vimy Ridge. It was bloody hot and, for one reason or another, I was completely miserable. That night, back in the Parisian flat we were renting, I lay on top of the bed, with the window wide open, in an attempt to fall asleep and overcome my physical and mental exhaustion. I passed out eventually but I awoke later in the night, with no idea of the time, shivering from the cool night air let in by the window. I groped for my covers, crawled under the sheets, and passed out again.
I must have been awake for all but five seconds, groggy and barely functioning, yet I can still feel that moment in clear remembrance. That moment of reflex, of searching for the sheets to crawl under and make the shivering stop, is unlike anything else. It is a moment of pure consciousness; a white light behind my eyes among the blackness of sleep and nothingness. In that state there are no thoughts: there is no jet-lag; there is no homesickness; there is no sadness, no fear, no frustration, no insecurity, no anxiety, no case of crippled self-esteem, and no misery. It is the lack of everything that plagues me, and in that way I suppose in that way it could be considered happiness.