On The Meaning of Happiness


SCORE: Faded || Alan Walker  …What does happiness mean to you? When a good friend asked me this, it seemed like one of those questions that had an easy response but I found that I couldn’t answer. At first, I thought it was because I was distracted so I stopped what I was doing and…


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SCORE: Faded || Alan Walker

 What does happiness mean to you?

When a good friend asked me this, it seemed like one of those questions that had an easy response but I found that I couldn’t answer. At first, I thought it was because I was distracted so I stopped what I was doing and tried again but an answer was as forthcoming as trying to figure out what possessed me to thinking that NYSC would be exciting ????Anyway, it’s 3:24am and even though I’m sure by 6am my definitions might’ve changed, I need to write this: not because the beautiful Butterflymind asked me, but because I’m still unable to give myself an answer I’m satisfied with so I’m hoping writing would help.

My best friend has been away from home for the last 10 months because he thinks he needs another Master’s degree and I make sure I go see his mom at least once a week to check on her and help out if I can; buy fuel, change bulbs, service the gen or whatever; the little things so she doesn’t miss her son too much.

I remember how I felt the morning she called me on my way to work and thanked & prayed for me. Humbled & overwhelmed because I didn’t think I was doing anything special, I definitely felt happy the next time I swung by. Memories of that banga & pounded yam still make my mouth water.


Happiness is waking by 7 on a Saturday, not having to worry about traffic, strolling to the kitchen to fix breakfast and finding that bae has a tray with freshly toasted bread covered with unsalted Kerrygold butter, poached eggs with bacon strips and a huge glass of milk/orange juice.

It is leaving work late and inwardly groaning at the thought of traffic and then meeting none. It is the feeling that envelopes you as you listen to C2C’s ‘Down The Road‘ as you enjoy Third mainland bridge at 2am.

Happiness is spending a day with friends who are family, arguing about what to watch between ‘Cape Fear’ (1957), ‘Finding Nemo‘ or Insidious, playing ‘Jackpot’ to decide and ending up watching all…or none because at some point, you all felt like pizza and decided to go get some and that turned to a restaurant-hopping adventure.

Happiness is singing in the shower as loud as you can and thinking to yourself “damn I got a great voice”.

Happiness is that giddy feeling you have as you leave the bank, after depositing some money in bae’s account. Not because you sent her money but because you know she’d smile and blush when she gets a credit alert from ‘Coldstone’, having told you earlier in the day that she was cranky because she was stuck at home, was broke and was craving ice cream.

It is that feeling you get when you wonder why you didn’t just send money to her from your phone then you smile to yourself  in answer because you know that the smile on her face when she saw the depositor’s name was totally worth the stress.

Yup. Happiness is great food and credit alerts ????

But it’s also so much more.

It is living a life, not void of mistakes but without regrets, knowing that everything that’s happened to you made you the awesome person you are. It is basking in the euphoria that accompanies a risk that paid off and taking the positives when it doesn’t.

It is knowing that if you died on the morrow, you know without a doubt that you’ve made somebody smile, not because you are Bovi-esque but because at some point in their lives, your words or life or presence got them through a tight spot. It is knowing that you will be sorely missed, if not by all, by one.

Happiness is satisfaction. It is love. It is great food, awesome novels and beautiful music. It is Jon Bellion’s ‘Human Condition’ + Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’ + an awesome couch.

Happiness is all these things and so much more but let me stop here.

Like love, happiness is different things to different people…

…What is happiness to you?


Image via KingOfWallpapers.com


  1. Nulo
    Happiness is reading this post, enjoying the humour, beauty and truth it presents.
    Happiness me getting kunu, Fura-da-nunu, and masa for lunch as per first things.
  2. Cavey
    I’m glad you got a definition from the post.
    Here’s your drink ???? But I don’t have the rest so here, enjoy the fires and burger as substitutes????????
  3. Dr. Baruu
    Baba, real talk…

    Happiness (and it’s pursuit) is a never-ending story; it is like a long and distant road leading to somewhere we hope it leads us to – a utopian city of blinding lights filled with all the awesome wonder and splendour we can imagine. And when we reach the end of that road – the long and distant one, that is – we get to see what is in store for us. At that moment, it is left for us to choose what to make of it.

    We all hope to be happy. Get a good job with an air-conditioned office overlying the Atlantic, marry a big b**ty yet successful chic like Serena Williams, have a personality like Marlon Brando’s in the movie The Godfather, take a trip to the Bahamas yearly, have a rich pastor like T.D. Jakes, give birth to a brilliant kid like Mark Zuckerberg…

    No one wants to support a flopping team like Arsenal, no one wants to live in a lawless nation like Somalia, no one wants to be shot by a snitch like Jesse James, no one wants a dumb wife like Kim ‘My-Derriere-In-Your-Face’ K**d**h***…

    But the fact is: we all get what we don’t want at some point in time. Happiness is a state of the mind; therefore, we are happy when we choose to be.

    Lemme quote some good folks Bro:

    “It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment; it is in the happiness of the pursuit” –Denis Waitley

    “The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase: if you pursue happiness, you’ll never find it” – Carrie Snow

    Now Playing: Somewhere Only We Knew by Keane

  4. Exclusive
    I’m so with you on the credit alert induced happiness. I have like a special smile for that one.

    Happiness is reading a great book that somehow finds a way to speak to the depths in my heart. It is getting a call from my sister after paying my monthly ‘contribution’ into her account and she goes, “Babe, thank youuuuuu.” (yes, she draws it out ridiculously) and then she continues, “Ha, what would I do without you in this life!”

    It is hearing my dad say, “you’re God’s greatest gift to me.” It is seeing the look in my mum’s eyes when I do something unexpected, yet expected for her.

    Happiness is the nights we gisted till 2am under the stars in Uni, friends intertwining their lives together.

    Happiness is little moments in time and I could never forget this: Happiness is ice-cream, all day, every day!

    1. Cavey
      The little moments in time that forever leave an impression on you! You know this!
      Thank you for taking time out to read ????????
  5. Dan
    Happiness is waking up on a Saturday early morning, rushing to get ready for work only to remember its the last Saturday of the month and there is going to be “clean-up/sanitation day”.

    Happiness is that hug you get from that special someone after missing him/her long time.

    Happiness is taking a can/bottle of chilled coke after taking a peppery food.

    Happiness is the feeling you get when someone genuinely says “thank you” for something you’ve done for them.

  6. Od
    Dude, how the deuce are you still single, ehn? With all this advertising and women hurling themselves at you, wetin happen? Lol. See me as I de henvy you. I no come get best friend wey I go de go im mama house. Oh, I do, poor dude’s mom kind of died though. 🙁

    Seriously, get married already ka anyi mara ole anyi foro. Is not when women are looking at me unto potential levels you wee be here spoiling market. Abi you be Devu?

    Just kidding….not really though…get married already.

    Happiness? It’s what you feel sometimes when the winds of life blow the way you like. To me, personally, and within the tenets of my Faith, happiness means exactly nothing. We prefer its superior, joy.

    Joy is not dependent or consequent uponYou varying circumstance or changing preferences. It’s the result of a solid assurance that the Hand that rules the world is the same Hand that was nailed to a cross for you so it is utterly friendly to you no matter what may be happening.

    So, as I am wont these days, even when I am morose and depressed, for me, it’s something I feel thoroughly and experience in my bones but which does not change the joy I have that things are really under control even when it doesn’t feel that way.

    1. Cavey
      I promise, , I’m no devu so when it’s time to marry, all I ask is an invitation so I can eat all the peppered snail I want! And how does someone’s mom ‘kinda die’? ???? SMH!
      Yes, Joy, the deep rooted feeling of…joyfulness that’s rooted in His love for us and that He has a plan that’s to give me a future, a hope and an expected end; an end that eyes haven’t seen, neither have ears heard or has man imagined the amazingness of such a feat.
      Yes, I agree and have this joy. The reason I didn’t use that word is because, people need a gentle introduction before telling them that what they feel isn’t happiness, but ‘Joy’ hence, after saying all things that ‘happy’ is (food, friends, etc), I went on to say that it’s more than that. ????
      Thank you for reading.
      PS: women don’t hurl themselves at me ????
  7. Sparks and Tingles
    Happiness is:
    – Being in a dark room, A/C at freezing temperatures, earphones plugged in, swaying back and forth and sideways.
    – Standing at my favorite spot at Bogobiri with my chilled bottle of Guinness on a Thursday night.
    – Cuddling up in bed with magazines and mobile phone on a Saturday morning.
    – The last thrust before “pulling out”
    – When my cashflow statement jives effortlessly.
    – The sound of the Bb or D major chord.
    – Fantasizing about “happily ever after” with the prototype bae I have conjured up in my dreams.
    – Watching rain fall.
    1. Cavey
      I don’t know about ‘watching’ the rain but I know I love the sound of rain! That’s why I have a couple of recordings of rain on my phone that I listen to when I want to write…or sleep.
      Thanks for reading ????
  8. Twisted
    Happiness is:
    – having to talk to my sister after a long day.
    -looking forward to Sundays and Tuesdays cos of church
    -eating coldstone gingerbread ice cream and realising I still lost weight that same week/month
    -finding a dress or perfume at a ridiculously cheap price! (Vain ,I know)
    -having my write-ups posted on TNC and people commenting. This actually makes me smile in my sleep. My friend told me????????
    -coming back from work to find dinner is dodo and anything!
    – listening to Rock music when rain is falling and I’m cuddled up in bed with no intrusions whatsoever
    – have i mentioned how much I love talking to my sister after a long day? (Try having a sister like mine????)
    But above all, happiness is knowing I have a God who has my back 24/7. Like Od said that one is joy actually…
    I can’t type everything sef. It’s a lot
    1. Cavey
      Well, if your sister is cut from the same cloth as you, she’s pretty damn awesome then and YASSSSSSSSS to Gingerbread icecream! All day, everyday! Do you want to buy some for me? ????
      1. Twisted
        awww! Thanks. You did just call me awesome????????.
        For that , I DO owe you ice cream whenever you come to Abuja. Gingerbread of course!
        By the way, you should try ginger bread with Bailey’s and brownies or pecans.
        DUDE! Your life will change!!
        But if ain’t that adventurous, just add cinnamon to your gingerbread scoop. Your life will still change????????
        Thank me later
          1. Twisted
            Cool…so how’s it going to be? There are only two cold Stone branches in Abuja. Wuse and gwarinmpa. I prefer wuse. I’m more familiar..
          2. Cavey
            *whispering* I think the coast is clear. May I have your number/email address?
  9. The best friend
    This guy you’re too moist a swear.
    . But real talk.. That is happiness. Knowing that there is always that one person that you can count on. Come rain, come shine.
    I love you bro. #nohomo
    1. Cavey
      Oh shattap! Be there telling me I’m moist. Pot calling pot black ????
      In fact, I don’t love you again ????
      But do you know if there’s Banga in the house? ????
  10. Adetomiwa
    I enjoyed reading this… Could connect with the theme. The initial cluelessness and subsequent realisation that what really makes us happy are the habitual things we shove aside or overlook while searching for complex and obscure definitions/scenarios for happiness.
  11. LaoluRG
    I have this 10-second gif-like moments playing out in my head when happiness, what it is to me, gets mentioned.
    So, I’m splayed out on a beach chair, beach sand, a glass of really good zobo on a customised furniture piece just for this purpose (refills in a cooler below), breathtaking book in hand and the wife coming out of this well aired and glazed timber beachfront crib to take her place near me, her copy of the same book turned over on her own chaise.
    with slow, calm, soothing sounds in the background.
    That said I’ve learnt to draw out happiness and amusement from any moments. waiting for Utopia isn’t exactly tenable.
    (cue people-watching, taking walks just to recollect old memories,etc etc)
    1. OIYK

      here’s ur zobocktail. I made this specially for you cuz you like zobo.
      Hmmmm… Happiness for me is when my 2yr old daughter exhibits smartness & plays politics on me to have her way or whenever she prays or starts singing praise & worship. When my 5month old daughter giggles or smiles back me to say I see you.
      When bae is scooping me a dish (in an unconscious kinda robot hand movement manner) from the pot. Or when she jokes about my past life.
      Me looooove my evening teaching of the fellowship to the children especially if am late & they ask if there won’t be fellowship (they just keep looking forward to sunday so I am hooked)
      And my gadgets too. God bless my first iPod gifter a millie much but as per Oliver Twist, I need another one or an iPad mini. (Injustice Gods Amongst Us must really be missing my absence)
  12. Serical
    [email protected] Dr. Baruu, ur comment was amazing

    What makes me happy?
    1. Drinking that hot cup of tea under my blanket.. in a cold room.. reading a fantastic novel
    2. floating on water (preferably a pool)with no one bothering me
    3. watching Pride and Prejudice (2005 version) or North and South with my best friend and laughing over Mr Collin’s behaviour or Mr Thornton’s rejection
    4. it’s having that long talk with my mother when I’m feeling upset
    5. it’s having a sorethroat and then my voice gets raspy (I know it’s a weird) and suddenly start singing and recording myself
    6. hanging out with my best friends and catching up on life and gisting about everything
    7. it’s watching X-Men and anticipating an upcoming X-Men movie (hard to explain)

    I’m sure there are more things but this is all I can remember for now… thanks for the post Cavey.

    1. Cavey
      Thank YOU for reading it,
      The X-Men, I understand (although I wasn’t to happy about ‘Apocalypse’) but biko, explain how a raspy voice makes you happy???
      1. Serical
        @cavey…. abt Xmen-I know, right? I was underwhelmed after leaving the cinema…
        But for me it’s better than nothing… looking forward to the next Wolverine now…
        And about the raspy voice, it just allows me to channel my inner ‘alicia keys’…(I know it’s weird… lol)
  13. adventure
    Happiness for me is when God makes a way when i think i am hopeless and helpless.
    Happiness is seeing the kind of love and care i get from bae, even when i know i truly wonder how come he cares and loves so much
    Happiness is when i get cold-stone ice cream any day.
    Happiness is reading a new book that connects with me
    AND THE MOST/ HEIGHT OF IT WOULD BE WHEN I GET THE OAP JOB I HAVE BEEN DYING AND WORKING TO GET. When i get this i would be in cloud nine everyday.
    OAP JOB please this girl needs you more than anything!!!
  14. Abi
    awww I Iove it!

    Happiness means a lot of things to me. Happyness is getting on the plane to the other side of the continent or to another city and just enjoying the distinctive beauty in nature. God is just o so awesome with creation

    Happyness like you said, is singing out loud in the shower, and pretending there is a big audience in front of me, and me dancing and performing lol. It is dancing like nobody’s watching, and/ or just enjoying the lyrics, or the voice or instruments in the background.

    Happyness is seeing my mom and dad smile from deep within. Happyness is that moment I realize how much I care for a friend and knowing in my heart that I got their back, & vice versa.

    Happyness is eating plantain, well fried, soft enough , not burnt; perfect plantain 🙂

    1. Cavey
      Happiness is seeing so many unrepentant dodo lovers ????
      Thank you, for taking out time to read (doesn’t mean I’d share my plantain with you o)
  15. Blaqlotus
    Happiness is when my boss is out of town for a day/week/month.
    Happiness is (i’m with you on this Cavey) leaving work late and inwardly groaning at the thought of traffic and then meeting none.
    Happiness is seeing my lover after weeks of being apart.
    Happiness is facetiming with my sis and watching her bath or feed my little niece.
    Happiness is doing something nice for people no matter how small it seems, making people smile.
    Happiness is being in love.
    1. Cavey
      “Happiness is seeing my lover after time being apart”
      “Happiness is being in love”
  16. Larz
    Happiness is fleeting, fulfillment is more permanent. For me, I wont look to seek to pursue happiness as a long term strategy but would rather maintain a steady level of fulfillment whilst taking pleasure in obtaining happiness through the small things I am surround with. Things like the first time le boo says he loves you or when your baby smiles at you, when you truly made the day of someone that is really struggling, got that promotion or win that lottery etc. You dont know when these events will take place but when they do, you savour and enjoy every second of it.

    well done to you. What you did with your friends mum is very commendable. Remind me not to show this to my mum or I wont hear the end of how rubbish I am as a daughter. I dont even see her every week lol

    1. Cavey
      Bribe me with Spurs Burger and Fries and I won’t send this to your mom ????
      And thank you for taking out the time to read,
      1. Larz
        Always a joy reading from you.

        That is a very specific request loolz.

        But it wont do much for my reputation as being rubbish loolz. Besides, if you dont tell her, she will prbly still have stories of her friends children or someone’s cousin’s aunty.

        Now that you mentioned Spurs burger, I am now absolutely craving it. Hold that thought…

  17. Victoria Ozidu
    Well Cavey don’t just marry… I think you should write a book. A great big sappy contemporary romance novel that everyone would connect with. You’ll be awesome at It!
    Joy is more permanent like Od said. It is not dependent on circumstances. So Joy is more like leaving work early and expecting to get no traffic and then a trailer falls on the road and it’s blocked but still you’re humming your favorite jamz. Joy is having that ability to smile when your phone beeps and you’re expecting a credit alert and then you see a promotion sms from your network provider. You can truly have joy when you have a relationship with the One who gives it.
    But I’m with many people on the happiness thing. It’s the credit alerts, the ice cream, the staring into le boo’s eyes and reading his love poems, it’s the passing of an exam, it’s the getting the dream job… It’s so many things.
    Well done Cavey!
    1. Cavey
      Thank you, dear for takin outcome to read and for liking ????
      And y’all that are liking icecream, don’t you know it’s fattening?! Leave it for people like me ????
      PS: how am I gonna pull off the ‘big, sappy, contemporary, romance book’? I’m still a wannabe writer ????
  18. Hephie Brown
    You beat me to writing this, well something like this..i have been wondering what happiness is, i sat in my dark room under my mosquito net in my swamp of a house and i held my nokia phone and a pen, wrote it down in a book, and now I cant type it. Mehn , i cant even begin to describe what happiness it to me ill just end up writing a new one under the comment section.. but summary, happiness is marrying a good man, having shitloads of money and starting my own NGO someday, every other thing in between are perks…
    1. Cavey
      I know all to well, the laziness that comes when you have to type something you wrote down. Next time, type it in your phone. It’s easier to copy and paste into Word Document then ????
      Thanks for reading
  19. happy
    Happiness is to know the Saviour,
    Living a life within His favour,
    Having a change in my behaviour,
    Happiness is the Lord.

    Happiness is a new creation,
    Jesus and me in close relation,
    Having a part in His salvation,
    Happiness is the Lord.

    Real joy is mine,
    No matter if the teardrops start,
    I’ve found a secret,
    It’s Jesus in my heart.

    Happiness is to be forgiven,
    Living a life that’s worth the livin’,
    Taking a try that leads to Heaven,
    Happiness is the Lord.

    Real joy is mine,
    No matter if the teardrops start,
    I’ve found a secret,
    It’s Jesus in my heart,
    Jesus in my heart.

    Happiness is to be forgiven,
    Living a life that’s worth the livin’,
    Taking a trip that leads to Heaven,
    Happiness is the Lord,
    Happiness is the Lord,
    Happiness is the Lord.

    “Happiness Is the Lord” is a song by Heritage Singers. It is track #2 from the album The King Is Coming that was released in 1972

  20. Uche
    To me happiness right now would be GETTING A PHONE! bought a new phone, stolen 3 days later. Repaired the old, yet no show. I have coughed out 107k this week and I still don’t have a phone.
  21. B
    I love how this post made me smile. Happiness is so many things I don’t even know where to start from but it involves serenity, great music, food, laughter etc
  22. Nedoux
    Hi ,

    Happiness is reading this well-written article that reminds me of all the things that make me happy.

    Happiness is driving through traffic-less roads while car-dancing energetically to Nigerian jollof music, volume at the max.

    Happiness is my mother’s embrace and her oha soup.

    Happiness is a good book and chocolate buttons.

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful piece. 🙂

    1. Cavey
      Dancing to good music, not just Nigerian Jollof ???? (I recommend ‘Down the Road’ or ‘The Cell’ by C2C on a traffic less road, especially if you drive a manual!)
      Happiness is knowing you enjoyed this piece well enough to read and comment. Thank you,
  23. Kwiksie Ifediora
    You’ve totally given us assignment this guy.
    First off, your definitions likely coincide with those of quite a number of people. I’d love to be the one getting coldstone and err’thing. That was quite spot-on. 🙂

    -The sky makes me happy. I could stare at clouds and colours splashed across that expanse of glorious blue and begin to weep. (Folks tend to mistake it for suicidal ideation…but it’s happiness I promise).
    -Iced Tea makes me happy. Incredibly so.
    -Chocolate (it’s a no-brainer, come on).
    -Finding something I thought I misplaced/having a stolen item being restored to me – I could cry.
    -Making someone smile/ drying someone’s tears/ helping a heart heal/ teaching a heart to feel
    -Meeting lonely people…and changing their status.
    -Goosebump-inducing music & love songs (Yup. Separate categories cus epic love songs induce a special kinda Goosebump).
    -Great Food. Anything that isn’t insect and isn’t raw (minus fruits) and tastes fantastic (preferably peppery if it’s going to have spice in it).
    -Helping someone that can’t help me back.
    -Gifts. Especially when they’re unexpected.

    Before I make this lengthier than your post, I’ll stop now (for further inquiries on how to happy-me-up – dear readers of this comment – send me a DM *GRIN).

    Anyway those are a few things that make me happy, but they don’t define the sentiment for me. You see in order for us to define happiness, we have to rely on present emotions, feelings, and our mental state(s) per time. Of all the things we are, we humans aren’t constant (outside of Christ of course). And just as our fickleness is depicted in the frequency at which we change our display pictures, switch opinions in debates, break our promises, substitute boos/baes or replace all the items in our wardrobes; this inconsistency goes beyond how we decisively behave to how we think (which still determines how we behave though but whatever). Even our definitions of happiness change from one situation to the next! I mean look at me; you give me chocolate I’m happy, but then I’m happy with Iced Tea too – WHICH ONE IS IT?! In that wise, I can consider happiness to be fleeting. Pleasant, but fleeting.
    So she gets the alert from coldstone and is ‘happy’. But right after there’s a DM on IG from some hater aproko with a picture of you and the ex-just before her, that same afternoon. Now of course, you can’t control your ex’s movement. Y’all just bumped into each other at the bank or something. The point is, smiley ice-cream bae ain’t so happy anymore (even when deep down she’s pretty sure nothing’s up). See? Fleeetinggggg! 😀
    So why joy is so epic (as some people have pointed out) is that it’s source is the most constant so it can stand on it’s own two-feet. Happiness on the other hand, needs to lean on blue skies, nice people, bright flowers, good pay, a colorful rainbow and everything being dandy and everyone being jolly.
    Joy takes all the hurricanes there are, mass murders, poverty to the teeth, rape, backstabbing, break-ups and scientifically incurable diseases…and gives you enough strength to take one more step and crack one—more—smile.

    #Sigh. I’ll be happy the day I learn to comment like a normal person and not type an epistle though. Forgive me.

    1. Cavey
      In that case, I hope you never find happiness because some of us love your ‘epistles’.
  24. Zinny
    Happiness is
    – A steaming plate of afang soup and fufu
    -Credit alert!
    -Sitting with a good novel and shutting the world out
    -Sleeping after a long day
    -Good music: mostly gospel
    -Seeing my posts on TNC and having people comment
    -Going on that dream vacation.
  25. Aggie
    Happiness is a plate of pounded yam and egusi soup
    Happiness is seeing @cavey‘s post knowing it will put a smile on my face.
    Happiness is letting go of all my worries, knowing what is meant to be will be

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