Will We Always Be Pursuing Happiness?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

When I chose the name for this site a couple years ago, I wondered if it was a good idea to focus on the pursuit of happiness. The indication is that we are always chasing and never achieving, always going and never arriving. I worried that the name would convey a constant restlessness and that no one would ever listen to me if I couldn’t proclaim that I had found and maintained happiness once and for all.

But then I realized that’s exactly what I wanted to convey.

Happiness is not a destination at which to arrive, but a journey to take.

It is about savoring the current moment, yes, but also about knowing that we must always keep choosing.

Life will always present us with new opportunities to be defeated. People will die, jobs will be lost, and tragedies will hit close to home. And we will have to come back to our core values and figure out how to be happy again. In these days we will find ourselves hunting happiness doggedly, with flashlights and blood hounds and urgency.

Other times we will not have to hunt. We will follow happiness along like a mother trailing after a toddler at the park. We are watchful, certainly, but we know the pace of those legs and exactly where the temptations lie. We reach out when we need to change course, but mostly we just amble along, half paying attention while we enjoy the warm day and conversation with a friend.

Real happiness is neither a constant day at the park nor a lifetime of  hunting in the dark. Real life moves between the two, but the pursuit of happiness is always an option.

I hope I never become so foolish as to think I have conquered happiness. I have learned a lot about being happy and I love sharing those lessons and stories with others, but I am now and always will be just another seeker on the road.

Will we always be pursuing happiness?

By God, I hope so.

What do you think?

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  1. the muskrat says:

    It is, after all, one of our inalienable rights.
    the muskrat’s most recent post: seeing someone realize her dream, and how to keep a bookstore manager from ruining the experience

  2. daniel says:

    There are different ways to emphasize each of the four letters in the title, either individually or in pairs. IN PURSUIT of happiness, for example, or in pursuit of HAPPINESS. It’s a matter of perspective. I like your take on it being a journey not a destination.

  3. Yes! I like to think that we’re all entitled to an unlimited supply of happiness — a quota that can never be filled. And actually, that simple thought in itself makes me happy.

    :)
    suzanne @ pretty swell’s most recent post: Happiness is: live lip-dub proposal

  4. Lisa says:

    Yes, I think so. I hope so, anyway. Life is full of constant change, and it takes a conscious effort to find happiness in the midst of what sometimes seems like chaos. You choose to let the chaos derail you, or you choose to roll with it, learn from it, and find your new center of happy. That’s what I’m telling myself, anyway.
    Lisa’s most recent post: Who Finally Published a Life List?

  5. Ren says:

    I find that I’m happy most of the time. For me, it is less of a pursuit and more of a decision.

    To be sure, there are times when life throws its weight around and deciding to be happy is either difficult, or inappropriate. Also, I’ll admit to having had a below average amount of strife, which I’m sure contributes to the ease with which I can decide to be happy.

    In addition, I’m also typically fairly content, which isn’t quite the same thing (seems like you’ve written about that before). It also doesn’t mean that I’m stagnant, though that possibility does sometimes concern me. At those times, I consider whether I would be happier with a change. If so, then it’s time to pursue it! Look at that… full circle!
    Ren’s most recent post: That was quick…

    • Miss Britt says:

      You sound a lot like my husband. I would agree that his bigger challenge is avoiding stagnation, too.

  6. I think you are right. Life and happiness is about the journey not the destination. I was in therapy today, my first session with a new social worker. and she asked me what I was looking for in regards to happiness. I talked about elevated mood and getting back to where I was when I first started taking meds and they kicked in. But ultimately I told her I want to be more present and engaged in the moment.
    Corey Feldman’s most recent post: Tuna gets lost

    • Miss Britt says:

      I’ve been working really hard on being more present and in the moment the last couple of weeks. It’s been more challenging than I thought it would be!

  7. Kent says:

    It IS a journey. One moment, one day at a time. You pursue happiness today and then happiness tomorrow and then happiness the day after that.

    The cool thing is that – with that mindful moment-by-moment approach – you begin to define yourself as a happy person.
    Kent’s most recent post: It’s a Wrap

  8. If there is no joy in the journey than something is truly wrong/broken. I don’t have any problem with the idea that this is something we continue to work for.
    Jack@TheJackB’s most recent post: Why Me Versus Why You

    • Miss Britt says:

      Yep. I think when we’re headed in the right direction, or at least on the right path, even the hard parts of the journey come with joy.

  9. I didn’t have a good day yesterday, I just wanted you to know I went back to read this post again to remind myself it is a journey.
    Corey Feldman’s most recent post: Anxiety, depression update number whatever.

  10. Momma says:

    Ya hit the nail on the head, AGAIN.
    We are SO enjoying our new adventure. We’re so happy with the choice of new home; it feels like we’ve travelled back in time. A couple of weeks ago we were driving in the county (Prince Edward county, where we now live, on an island in Lake Ontario) and it is so very beautiful. The farms look like they’re from the 50′s and 60′s, farm stands, beautiful sand dune beaches, maple trees, orchards, vineyards, and then we saw a drive in theatre showing the Avengers and Men in Black 3. At the time we were listening to 1958 music on the radio, and realized that the last time we drove by a drive in theatre, listening to 1958 music, it was IN THE YEAR 1958!! Love it, Of course, happiness is always balanced with some form of sadness, and we miss our family in the west, but they intend to visit often. This place is truely beautiful, and only 6 hours from where you plan to move, remember! See you soon. ;-)

  11. Liz says:

    This post is super important. You should link it on your About page!

    I especially love this: “…tragedies will hit close to home. And we will have to come back to our core values and figure out how to be happy again.”

    I hope I’m always pursuing happiness, too, because for me the opposite is depression. I love being happy.
    Liz’s most recent post: How to Use Dialogue Tags to Develop Characters

  12. martymankins says:

    I think everyone wants happiness in their life and spends a lifetime looking, searching and reaching for it. Some find it in the little things that happen each day (like yourself and your family) and others get small and large pockets of happiness every so often. While I have my personal things I wish for, I do find happy things that happen for me and those around me.
    martymankins’s most recent post: Happy World Gin Day

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