There’s a concept called “the hedonic treadmill,” which holds that any goals achieved are quickly replaced by new goals, and this process keeps people at a relatively stable level of happiness because they’re constantly looking toward their next want.

The hedonic treadmill makes more sense after basic needs are met though because — no matter how zen you are — you’re probably less happy if your only source of sustenance is sand.

That is an example of a nuance I did not consider when I first heard of the hedonic treadmill, which I instead used as an excuse to not improve my life whatsoever while claiming to have “beaten the system.”

I thought, “Why fix health concerns and maintain friendships when I’ll be just as happy either way? Now where’s that drawing of a Nintendo cartridge saying ‘Blow me’ that I was working on?” I was certain I found the back door to happiness. And yet — despite no odds — I was miserable while unhealthy and alone.

That homeless guy was happy. Maybe he was crazy and definitely he was was crazy. But also maybe he had good friends and felt healthy. …He also said the nearby out-of-commission bus was “just being lazy.”