Everyone strives for happiness right? Maybe so – maybe no. What exactly is happiness?
Happiness: a condition or state of well-being, contentment, pleasure; joyful, cheerful, untroubled existence; the reaction to having nice things happen to one.
Doesn’t sound that bad to me. Let’s start with what some famous people have to say on the subject…
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. — Albert Schweitzer
Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. — Albert Schweitzer
Happiness belongs to the self-sufficient. — Aristotle
That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest. — Henry David Thoreau
It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis. — Margaret Bonano
The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, not our circumstances. — Martha Washington
It is not that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we do for ourselves. — Chris Doelle
So why then are so many people miserable? There I have no information – because there I have no experience. I was sitting at the dinner table yesterday with my brothers and mom, discussing what terrible childhoods us kids had growing up. I was kidding with her about getting beat up by my brothers and forgotten on birthdays etc… (inside joke) and she said “you just never complained… in fact, you never said much of anything – you would just sit quietly and smile.” I joked that I was catatonic from my traumatic childhood, but eventually let her off the hook by admitting it wasn’t that bad.
It retrospect however, a recent discussion of happiness reminded me of the conversation and the fact that I really have no basis for understanding unhappiness. Sure, I have been upset, pissed off, angry, etc. but not for very long at a time. In fact, it is these lowest moments of my life that have become some of my funniest stories. They always lead to funny stories. Look at the stories on my website. Of the dozen or so that I have written, the two I like the most and the two that get the best response from readers are “The Great Potato Fire of 1990” and “Beware the Topos,” both bad events turned to funny stories.
And before you decide that my life is rosy, lets look at the facts. I built a great business only to have it crash and burn resulting in a personal bankruptcy, I have a herniated disc in my back that knocks me out of commission more and more lately, I am overweight, I have high cholesterol, my dog just died, I pretty much screw up every relationship I am in, my house is mess, I have a broken pipe in the attic, I have an uncontrollable compulsion to save every worthless knick-knack that comes through my hands, I am behind in my work… it goes on and on.
So what is the point of this ramble? Don’t ask me… I just write here. Also, don’t expect me to understand when you break out the violins. Call me naive, call me insensitive – but don’t save me a seat at the worry table – I am just not wired that way.