John Lennon once said we should count our age by friends and our life with smiles instead of tears. It may sound as a given, but nowadays this way of thinking is what we really need to heal as a society. Why do we underestimate happiness? Or put in other words, when did we exchange the meaning of happiness with success? We’re told that personal and professional success is the most desirable treasure in this journey we call life, so we measure our happiness according to this particular goal. In his beautiful poem Ithaka, Constantine Cavafy said: "as you set out for Ithaka hope the voyage is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery." So, why instead of enjoying the journey, we only focus on the final destination?
Have you ever stopped to think about those little things that really brighten your days, and more importantly, do you enjoy or appeal to them on your daily life? I know it sounds silly, but most of the time we're so worried about the future and the things we have to do to achieve our goals that we forget to enjoy those simple moments of happiness. I remember one time that my sister and I were goofing around; I don't even remember what we were giggling about, I'm sure it was something stupid, and my mom told us to shut up, that things weren't going that well for us to be laughing like that. Naturally, we just went to our bedrooms to continue with our silly jokes, not caring about anything. After years have passed I think back to those harsh, difficult times and what makes it bearable was the laughter shared with my sister. What would have happened if my mother had joined us? Would things had changed? We take things so seriously that we let problems suck all of our energy. This is what illustrator Kelly Bjork wants us to meditate and think about.
Her illustrations are filled with happy scenes of everyday life. Her work intends to show the "sweetness that can be experienced in this world," especially in those moments of darkness we could be experiencing. Her art doesn't intend to diminish the seriousness of the problems the world is enduring, but to remind us of those things that make us happy, allowing us to see things through a different, more relaxed scope. Her illustrations become a breath of fresh air in this polluted social atmosphere we live in.
Bjork portrays her own experiences and the moments that make her happy, like staying at home watching a movie, or spending time with her friends and cats. These scenes are so common that we can all relate to them very easily and share the joy her characters are experiencing. Who doesn't like to share funny moments with friends, or just listen to music and daydream? These are the little things that keep us sane in this insane life, and as this artist shows, we all should seize them and never let them go.
For Kelly Bjork, happiness is attainable, since it can be found in the most simple things and moments in life. Eating a piece of chocolate, walking back home and taking some time to see the world around you, kissing and hugging your beloved ones, playing with your pets, or basically anything that makes you feel at peace and fulfilled. Happiness is making choices that please and excite us.