Happiness is the gold ring on the Merry-Go-Round,the swell of the ocean under your board, the sound of crickets on a warm summer evening. The word itself is an altruistic phenomenon meaning different things to different people and requiring different paths to get there.
As Eric Hoffer once said, “When you are young you can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy”. As you age you have too much of what you don’t need, and some people still aren’t happy.
I once heard two woman friends tell me they weren’t happy, which sent a shiver of sadness tumbling to my toes. I found myself wondering why they weren’t happy. Some older people who are widowed, perhaps without family nearby, feel alone. They forget that there is a huge reservoir of life and happiness within themselves.
There are people who rely on others to make them happy, which will ultimately fail because it’s not their business to be the happiness purveyors. Happiness is one of those things we have to do for ourselves; no one else can do it for us.
Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It’s far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. (Carl Jung)
If it were not for the shadows
We would never have the sun;
If we never had the night-fall
Then day had not begun.
If we never knew a heartache
Then our soul would never sing;
If we never had a winter
We would never see the spring.
If we never knew the tempest
We would never love the calm;
If we never knew the wounding
We would never feel the balm.
If we never knew some sorrow
Then our hearts could not be gay.
There may never be tomorrow
But we always have today.
Webster devotes half a page to simply defining the word happy, but where is it? Is it memory, or a place, or both? We all have a memory of a place wonderfully rich and satisfying. A sight or a place where you caught your breath in amazement, or comfortably settled in and stored it away in your memory bank to draw on when your funds run short.
Remember the old song telling us to “Make someone Happy, Make just one someone happy, and you will be happy too.”