Saturday, October 22, 2011

Are You Happy?

This seemingly benign question poised to me by a friend presented an opportunity to think about my happiness.  Was I happy?  This casual comment cascaded into a serious thought provoking quest. Where does one find the answer to this eternal question?  What is happiness?

Dictionaries are useless: the dictionary defines happiness as the state of being happy, with happy defined as delighted, pleased, or merry.

Does that mean do I go around smiling and skipping all day?  I think not.  Adults are sometimes institutionalized for public skipping.  Some of us describe our wedding day as the happiest day of life; perhaps we were thinking of our wedding night.

Children can be happy with an ice cream cone on hot summer day, or with a new video game. For the child perhaps this is happiness; but not for this writer.   Although, I must admit I do love ice cream.

I did what every 21st Century blogger would do, I googled happiness.  The happiness search resulted in 281 million hits, too much to actually research.  There is even a Happiness Journal.  So I refined my search and used the term contentment.   Contentment assumes a more peaceful state, of being at ease. Contentment is a trait that seniors are assumed to possess by virtue of their life’s experiences.  This search resulted in only 13 million hits.  More manageable, but not something I would not attempt to review in a short period of time.

Then I brainstormed a few more terms and was astonished with the results.   Excitement received 134 million hits, longevity got 47 million, and skydiving got 15 million.  More skydiving hits than contentment, something is wrong with my search logic.  Then I got bold with my thinking with two new search terms; God garnered 1.6 billion hits (BILLION) and dog was not far behind with 1.34 billion.  Now I was getting numbers far beyond my comprehension.  This shouldn’t have surprised me because God and dog are two entities that have been long revered in human existence.

My next term came with divine inspiration. I googled SEX. Sex, the king or queen (depending on your gender) of driving forces revealed its power: 2.4 billion hits.   Personally, I don’t think sex and religion (along with politics) should be discussed with strangers.  The expectations and actualities of sex and religion are so widely divergent to render both irrelevant and overrated.  So that leaves the third place search term, dog, to consider.

The original question regarding my happiness was still unanswered and not defined.   I do know that I am most content when my 70 pound yellow Labrador Retriever is snuggled next to me on a cold winter night, or when I scratch behind her ear at night in bed and hear her sigh with pleasure.  She sat next between me and my wife one frightful night as lightning bolts illuminated the dark house.  We comforted each other.   I am too content to possess the angst of searching for happiness; I’d rather just have my wife and dog close to me.

Print Blog Post

No comments:

Post a Comment