Advanced Degrees, Education, & Happiness — OH MY!

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What do we know of other people’s happiness?


Hell, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t even know about my own happiness, let alone the happiness of others.

And yet, a lot of us feel inclined to constantly weigh in on the happiness of others.

Talk about ridiculousness. Seriously.

And don’t act like you’re not guilty of having done this on occasion. I know I’m guilty of this and I just stated that I am an idiot when it comes to happiness. Especially my own!

All I know is that sometimes I am happy and sometimes I am sad. These are just little snapshots in time, though, which may or may not count for anything. It’s just hard to see those little moments as something special when I’ve been raised on a steady diet of instant and continuous gratification.

Blame my generation or AOL dial-up, but we want what we want right now. Or, if possible, yesterday. I want what I don’t know what I want now. Why am I not sated?! NOW!

I kid, but sometimes I feel doomed in this quest for happiness. Even if I’m happy now, I’m left asking if that means I wasn’t happy in the past or will not be happy in the future, which makes me less happy at the moment. All of which detracts from one’s attempt to treat the present like a present.

How frustratingly ironic is that?

Consider by way of example my advanced degree in logistics management, which I was so proud of when I finally earned it that I didn’t even use it. For years. This led me to beat myself up for not using it, which is silly because now I am using it and I am glad I *paid* for it.

You got all that? Good, ‘cuz I sure don’t.

So, will getting another advanced degree make me happier or have I reached a point of diminishing returns when it comes to education? What about salary? Family? Anything quantifiable or measurable? Can we, or, rather, should we try to place an economic value on something as innumerable as happiness?

I mean, technically, we already do, but I don’t think we necessarily have to. Especially not when everyone’s definition is so different.

Regardless, none of us can go back. Not from our advanced degrees or our families or our career decisions.

We’re going to know now what we know and there’s no sense is wishing we’d known then what we know now.


Another thing I know is what I need to do going forward: live for the moment and that sliver of happiness whenever and wherever it presents itself.

I have to learn to savor now like a yummy desert or fine wine or whatever else I like to consume.

But like a meal, it’s all fleeting and I, we, know that going in, which is the point restated: if we were happy all the time we wouldn’t appreciate it when it actually happened.

So quick — pass that plate of tasty treats — I’M STARVING!