When I was in middle school, I thought, “If I just make it to high school, then I’ll be happy.” When I was in high school, I thought, “If I just make it to college, then I’ll be happy.” When I was in college, I thought, “If I just graduate and get a job, then I’ll be happy.” When I graduated and got a job, I thought, “If I just lose weight, then I’ll be happy.” When I lost weight, I probably had some other accomplishment in mind that was the gatekeeper to my happiness, though I don’t remember what it was. The not so shocking conclusion is that I’m no closer to happiness now than I was at any of those previous points in my life. My happiness has been in another castle so many times I’ve stopped bothering to look.
Thinking about this, I asked myself what happiness was. I didn’t have a good answer. I consulted the internet. The internet doesn’t really have a good answer either. Why is it that we all pursue happiness, yet we can’t even state what happiness is?
I write all this because I’ve heard my friends say the same things I’ve said to myself. I’ve seen my family members’ failed attempts to be happy. So I suggest we stop pursuing it. Stop focusing on what we don’t have yet. Let’s look closer at what we do have, and take a moment to appreciate it. In doing so, we become content. Amusingly, contentment is one of the internet’s answers as to what happiness is.