The third of those iconic rights enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence is easily the most elusive. Happiness. Who defines happiness, who decided that in order to be happy we need to meet a preconceived notion of what happiness is.
The last week or so, I have been picking my way through a Time Magazine article all about happiness in America. I have struggled with the idea of happiness. What even makes one happy? What is it that we search for? Is there a universal idea of happiness?
For those who have taken the Myers-Briggs test, I am an ESFP. The E meaning extrovert. I thrive off people. Off my family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, and casual acquaintances, each one of these people makes a difference in a part of my life. People make me happy. Those who know me, know that I do not shy away from some of the tougher conversations in life. I love exploring the complexity of human emotion and human nature, but I know it is not for everyone. My best friend from the good old Academy is the type who does a lot more internal exploration of the human condition. He may not engage with as many people, but no one has ever challenged me more to be better and pursue true happiness. He may be happier with a thick copy of a Leo Tolstoy book whereas I am much happier with a cold beer and lively conversation.
Now is either of us wrong, no. Our roles are often reversed in the pursuit of happiness. There is no one shoe fits every situation. Far too often we see happiness as a one track road, one path to pursue. The beauty of happiness is that we all have our own path. Some of us enjoy humming the tune to Colder Weather, others the beauty of a Monet painting, while still others nothing is sweeter than the sound of a basketball swooshing through a net.
The one thing I have tried to do as I have gotten more mature is learn to pursue what makes me truly happy. I may be far from true happiness, but it is not for lack of searching. I think far too many of us want happiness handed to us instantly just like most thing happen now in our life. Sometimes the journey is the battle, but often the journey is what makes life worth living. No one does a scavenger hunt to reach the end, but rather for the experiences along the way.
Let us all try to not rush through life so much, but rather enjoy the crazy journey we are all experiencing. Life cannot be about achieving happiness only once, but about constantly seeking it out and looking for it every single day. Nothing is wrong with not locking in on happiness, the problem is when you are too busy focusing on finding the goal rather than the present situation. When we do not acknowledge the present, we often miss the happiness in each day,
Well friends, acquaintances, colleagues, co-workers, and most importantly, family, until next time be safe and make good decisions…