The Pursuit of Happiness is an age-old quest. So important to our society, that it is included in the Declaration of Independence; “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. If you Google the phrase, you will discover a myriad of websites, books and articles all expressing different ideas about what brings about happiness. According to happiness experts, we don’t really have a good idea about what makes us happy. Many people think that material things bring happiness; a new house, or car. Others believe they will finally be happy when they have lost weight, found the love of their life, or get paid a certain amount for the job they do. I am guilty of all of the above. Maybe you are too. You set a goal, achieve it and believe you will be happy when you have “arrived at your destination”, only to realize you still feeling a longing inside.
“If it makes you happy,” croons Cheryl Crow, “it can’t be that bad”. Really? Plenty of times I’ve felt so-called happy, and in retrospect, it was bad ! Happily in love with my pay cheque and at times (more than once admittedly) happily in love with a completely inappropriate man. Happy to be included in a group activity, or a friendship, that I later realized was not all that positive. What then, is happiness?
The first several years of my life I am sure I felt happiness. Being tucked in at night with a kiss and a bedtime story, long summer days exploring the woods, swimming, biking and licking the juice of my dripping popsicle from my arms. Then something changed. Uncontrollable circumstances, situations and events took place, far beyond my level of comprehension. I remember thinking that happiness was for other people and not something I should be concerned with. That feeling dictated the direction of my life for many years. Oh, I had inklings of joy. A wonderful first love, travels to Africa and Indonesia, the joy of working with kids and making a difference, but was never strong or brave enough to grab on to those feelings and protect them.
Since January of this year, I have been exploring new ways of well-being. Now that I am “plugged in”, I am able to see many things I had no idea were there. I have a lot of questions! One thing that has been on my mind as I contemplate the next phase of my life is happiness. What makes us happy? Am I happy? How do you get happy? I’ve decided to delve into these questions and find out for myself.
Over the coming weeks I am going to explore what makes me happy. I am ready to take risks and leaps into the unknown, to follow-up on ideas I believe will make me happy. Will they? I’ll let you know.
Want to join me?