“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
― John Lennon
Happiness is fleeting. I hate to disagree with a philosopher of Lennon’s stature but pursuing happiness can be a difficult journey. Spending my life looking for the next happiness can be a frustrating and hope-crushing proposition. And who can even say what happiness is, anyway? Perhaps happiness is nothing more than a pervading sense of contentment. Maybe happiness is found in the realization of what your life means, or who you are, or what you are about. For a few years of my life I know I was very very happy when I was high.
And ultimately that is the point. Happiness is, by its very lack of pragmatic definition, difficult to pin down. Often we only realize we are happy when we look back and realize that those days, the ones in which we were struggling and living day-to-day, were in fact our happiest times. Who knows, someday you may just look back and think these days, these stressed out busy days, were our best days.
For me, happiness is knowing I am doing something worthwhile with my life, with people I love. Happiness is making a difference. Happiness is holding my new grandson Angus. Happiness is hope, and laughing, and my kids and kissing Annette. Happiness is family. Happiness is… God forbid… am I content?
Happiness is less exciting than it once was, perhaps. Less exciting… but real.
George Bernard Shaw – This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one: the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown out on the scrap heap and being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
- External Happiness: An American Syndrome (kiss951.cbslocal.com)
- Life is Boring (scott-williams.ca)
6 thoughts on “Making You Happy”
Happiness is definitely a primary goal of mine, because like pain, I view unhappiness as a sign of unbalance or dis-ease, or at least of mistaken perspective. I think true happiness is the result of feeling that you’re doing the very best you can with what you currently have, and are appreciative of all of it. It’s the outcome of deep self-knowledge, and whatever discipline you can muster up. Not always easy, or necessarily thrilling, but maybe that’s the reason why “excitement” and “happiness” are two different words. One you can buy at the mall, and the other you have to make for yourself. 🙂
I am always happy – whatever you define that to be – when I don’t pursue it or worry about it.
I think you are right. We don’t recognize “happy” in the moment but in looking back. I have been working on a family album and in looking at old pictures, I can feel the “happiness” or lack of clearly as I relive the events. Yet, I either didn’t focus on them or was oblivious to it at the time.
Happiness is whatever you define it to be. That is the thing with happiness. It is different for each person. We hope that when we meet and marry our mates that we have similar definitions of happiness and we instill these same definitions in our children hoping that they will incorporate them into their own definitions of happiness. I do see it as a form of contentment, though they are not one in the same. Thanks for your post. I enjoy reading your blog.
I loved this, Scott. So true…
I couldn’t agree with you more. I used to strive for a life of happiness. Now, I strive for a life of meaning. As the saying goes, you can’t ever see a rainbow unless there has first been a storm. I now savor moments of happiness, and have deep gratitude for those moments as opposed to taking them for granted. Keep on going.