"Hi Jess, it's the man who turned you down for your dream job a few months ago. I know we whittled it down to you and someone else, and got your hopes up, but you didn't get the job. I know it's the closest you've been to a taste of happiness, and that you never really got over me rejecting you. The guy we took on, however, is leaving for a job with twice the salary. I'd like to offer you the job. Start first thing Monday!"
Aside the sheer annoyance that I was supposed to know what time 'first thing' was, I was inexplicably happy. I spent the morning floating, laughing at everything, and taking pleasure in quitting my current job. Later on that day, I received another call:
"Hi Jess, it's me again. I know it's obvious something isn't right because the tone of my voice sounds like I'm dragging my balls on the floor and I've swallowed a conker. We've had a redundancy in the company, so we legally need to offer this person the job that I've just given you. I know I sound like a prick now, so sorry."
I found out a few days later that the other person took the job. I was back to being Unemployed Graduate with Overdraft. After this second phone call, I physically felt as if there'd been a dimmer switch turned down. Not only was there a pervasive stench of unhappiness everywhere I went, but my body felt heavier and the world looked malevolent.
What amazed me, was that I hadn't actually gained anything. I believed I'd gotten an amazing job, but nothing had changed. It was then taken away from me, but really, I was left with exactly what I'd had that morning. Oh, minus my current job. The whole experience, if you can call it that, made me wonder how temperamental and sensitive our happiness is. One phone call was all it took for my body and my perspective to alter.
I now would argue that we don't have to experience something in order to feel the effects of happiness. To know that our circumstances will change is enough. If only we could all believe that one day soon we will be happy, we'd be a much more pleasant species to be around.