Pursuit of Happiness

Categories: Happy Things, Musings, Relationships
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Happiness: Everyone’s entitled to pursue it, but no one is guaranteed to find it. Finding it is easier depending on what you are willing to let make you happy and how you define it though.

I have a few quotes I have collected about happiness that I think define how to pursue and find happiness.

– Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and sits softly on your shoulder. – Nathaniel Hawthorne
– The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. – Joseph Addison
– The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather loved in spite of ourselves. – Victor Hugo

I’m not always happy. I do have my moments of despair. We all have our ups and downs. But on the whole, I think I’m a happy person. I have things to do, to turn my attention to. I have people to love. And I have hope. If happiness is one of Hawthorne’s butterflies, I think hope is the other.

There are people who think that when the next big thing happens in their life they’ll find happiness. When I leave home. When I graduate college. When I get a job I like. When I get married. When we have kids. When the kids are grown. When I live somewhere else. But those are the people who will be forever chasing the elusive butterfly rather than sitting still and being happy with the direction they are going.

As I was thinking about this topic, particularly about those people who think they can’t be happy unless they are married, two different parts from the movie While You Were Sleeping came to mind. I’ve always liked the first quote because having sole possession of the remote control is real nice some times.

Lucy: It’s just that, you know, when I was a kid I always imagined what I would be like, or where I would be, or what I would have when I got older. And, you know, it was the normal stuff. You know I’d have a house and family and things like that. Not that I’m complaining or anything because I have a cat. I have an apartment. Sole possession of the remote control. Very important. It’s just I’ve never met anybody that I could laugh with, you know. Do you believe in love at first sight. I bet you don’t. You are probably too sensible for that. Or have you ever, like, seen somebody, and you knew that if only that person really knew you, they would, well they would of course dump the perfect model that they were with and realize that you were the one they wanted to just grow old with have you ever fallen in love with someone you haven’t even talked to have you ever been so alone you spend the night confusing a man in a comma.

Lucy: Yes, Jerry, I’m insane. Every day I go and I sit in a booth like a veal. I work every holiday. I go home to a cat. And now a rich and handsome man has asked me to marry him and I have said yes. Okay. Okay. That makes me a raving total lunatic.
Jerry: The wedding is tomorrow Lucy.
Lucy: I know it’s tomorrow Jerry. But you know what I even wish it were yesterday. Because you know what? That would that mean that today that I would be on my honeymoon, that I would finally have a stamp in my passport, and that it would say Italy on it!
Jerry: What happened with the other guy.
Lucy: He didn’t want me.

Lucy thought she needed to me married to be happy. So in a way she really was a raving total lunatic. Being married does not automatically equal happiness, especially if you are marrying one person when you want someone else. There is definitely more to happiness than being married. It seems there are a lot of people who feel that way though.

I certainly don’t feel rejected simply because I’m not married. I have hope in my life. I have happiness. The butterfly sits gently on my shoulder. I could easily spook him and he’d leave. But instead I try to just gently live my life, take life as it comes, and hope. Hope and happiness quite often go together. I love butterflies. And hope and happiness are welcome to sit on my shoulder whenever they want.

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