In the 1960s, Ray Conniff released a song with that title. It had a typical catchy Conniff melody, with lyrics mainly rhyming the various things indicating happiness was “different things to different people.”
Simplistic, but so true. Happiness is, indeed, relative. Like many things, it depends on such factors as age, situation, and socioeconomic status.
On some level, I can trace what I think of as the evolution of happiness.
As a child, happiness was pretty much like:
• It’s almost my birthday (or Christmas)!
• I got a new toy!
• I hear the ice cream man’s truck!
• No homework tonight!
• I get to sleep over!
As a teen, happiness was more like:
• I can get the car tonight!
• We won the game!
• He called me!
• He asked me out!
• I passed all my exams!
Happiness through the various stages of adulthood becomes:
• I got the job!
• I got a raise!
• We’re getting married!
• We got the loan/bought a house!
• We’re having a baby!
• It’s a girl!
• It’s a boy!
• He got the promotion!
• Mom’s surgery was successful.
Eventually, the exclamation points of happiness are replaced by simple periods of contentment or resolve.
• He/she is at peace now.
• The kids turned out fine.
* Nice weather.
* We’ve got our health.
• Retirement is good.
And so it goes…
Currently, there are some things happening in my life that stand in the way of what I would consider happiness. Conversely, some things are not happening in my life that also block my truly feeling the “h word.”
Yet, in the wake of recent events (hurricanes, wild fires), I know there is more than one family sitting where their house used to be, who would give anything to be in my situation. And they would call it not just “happiness,” but also “blessed.”
Overall, my opinion is that happiness is not always the presence of joyful moments. Sometimes, it is merely the absence of overwhelming problems.
Now, for the requisite call to action:
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