The title question came to me a few days ago while trying to determine “Where should I go with my life?” I have been working for many years and took some time to think long and hard about what makes someone happy. Some simple research showed many approaches. There are religious ones, physical ones, philosophical ones and even creature-comfort ones.
In all honesty, I believe happiness must be determined by yourself and how you view life. We all know that life regularly puts us into a state of happiness after major events like weddings, births, new jobs, new houses, new pets and even after a good sunset.
I was recently sitting in the airport watching people as they rushed to their planes. Some seemed distraught, and babies could be heard crying loudly not far away. Many people seemed quiet and almost displaced. They were walking hurriedly to their next gate and next flight. Most seemed in a rush of some type.
My perspective has recently gone through a lot of change. I have had one of my closest friends who has recently been diagnosed with life-ending cancer. Something like that changes your life and everyone else’s who is close with them. I am hurting deeply for my friend, and yet there is not much I can do except sharing my concern and love for him. He has been a constant in my life for over 50 years, and I honestly don’t know how I and many others will get back without him. He has always been my salient go-to person for advice, common sense and honesty that was always point-on. Losing him will hurt deeply. As we go through life and lose parents, family and friends; our perspective always changes. Many times, we must cross the cycles of grief and put ourselves back together again to cross to the next phase in our lives with that person. We lose people in death, divorce, breakups, loss of friendships and in many painful ways. We must deal with that loss in our way. None are good.
In addition, we go through periods of happiness and even fulfillment. My son recently got married and seems to be the happiest I have seen him in years. A lady at work recently had her first child, and she and her husband are ecstatic in every way.
Meeting the “right” person for your life can also bring that same type of happiness; yet, it brings a period of worrying and wondering if the right person is the right person for the long-term. I think that takes time and a lot of thought to make that a reality. Again, it is something you must work on and work out as there are no one, two, three steps to happiness. I want to believe in happiness again. I know it’s possible and real. I think I know what it looks like and what it tastes like. I believe it is still achievable for me.
I also recently visited a retirement community, and you just assume that everyone there is retired, rich, and happy with their lives. Hopefully so, but it’s not that easy to assess from a distance. Just like life, you must decide first what makes you happy and how to manage to keep that happy state in force for as long as possible. I don’t think it’s easy.
I recently had another close friend decide to retire quickly after some frustrations and pain at work. I believe that person had several good years ahead of them, but they pulled the plug early due to the high level of frustration. Yet, this retirement may be what makes them happy to pursue other interests and close this book. I sure hope so.
So, in the summary of this process and analysis, happiness comes to those who are ready for happiness. It comes when you may not expect it. It sometimes comes out-of-the-blue, and sometimes it just sneaks up on you.
It is your responsibility to be on the lookout for it. It is something you must define, and when you think you see it or smell it, you should go after it with passion and a calm but determined approach. Be that happiness a new marriage, a new child, a new job, a new promotion or anything else you wish. After all, happiness is what we all deserve and need in our lives. I have tried it the other way for many years, so far with no success. Define and find your happiness. It’s all up to you!