By Brian Nadon
When I first thought about happiness and writing about it, the song “A Hard Rain’s A-gonna Fall” by Bob Dylan – kept popping into my head.
This doesn’t make too much sense because the last thing this song would ever be described as is “happy.”
Written in 1962, the song creates a visual imagery of emptiness, grief, sorrow and tragedy. It echoes the thoughts and feelings of a generation entrenched in conflict with the ongoing Vietnam War and its tragedies. This was written in the midst of the rising tensions that led up to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the terror of possible full-scale nuclear war at the end of 1962. Despite what some people think, the song isn’t about nuclear fall-out rain, but according to Dylan in The Essential Interviews, “it’s just a rain or some sort of end that is going to happen.”
The way I interpret this:
A hard rain is all of the daily struggles that people faced in 1962, and that we face today. A hard rain is illness, divorce, sadness, grief, loneliness. It’s losing your job, it’s facing addiction. It’s worrying about bills and debt. It’s the little inconveniences that pile up to create a mountain of hardship on top of your daily life. It’s being overscheduled to the point that you can’t function anymore.
Finding happiness despite the rain is a challenge. In fact, researchers have found that the more you TRY to be happy, the less happiness you find. These researchers recommend against the constant pursuit of happiness but trying to mold your life and to create positive experiences throughout the day. And I really agree with that. Sometimes you can actually change your circumstances – and if that’s the case, go for it. But that’s not always the case and somethings happen that you have to get through or live with. In my experience, a good, happy life is about the little things: Finding joy in your cup of coffee, your morning walk, something funny that your pet does, a bike ride. Really reflect on those positive moments and allow them to transform your attitude and life.