I have to admit that I’ve always regarded ‘the pursuit of happiness’ as one of those la-la things that don’t have much to do with real life.
Perhaps this is because I was born right in the middle of WW ll when ‘happiness’ wasn’t the first word on everyone’s lips, and my younger years had more to do with planning, rebuilding and rehabilitating than with an all-out drive to chase bluebirds.
But even in my early twenties, when happiness became a ‘right’ for baby boomers, I wasn’t convinced. Life had taught me a few things by then, and not one of them suggested that happiness was a finite goal. And while smoking pot might create an illusion of happiness (wouldn’t know, never tried it), it wasn’t a long-term guarantee of a rosy future and red Porsches didn’t fall from the sky while you sat on your butt and thought ‘which way happiness?’.
If you’re in some reasonable facsimile of your right mind, you don’t flit about the garden chasing fairies, and to me, pursuing happiness is pretty similar. It is a nebulous, ephemeral thing with no rules regarding time and place and no instantly recognisable shape or form, and if you assign it these things, it’s quite likely to pass you by without you recognising it.
Contentment, now… And serenity. Yes, if you’re lucky and work hard both mentally and physically, you can ultimately organise yourself a peaceful, contented life. But those rare moments when your whole soul shines with active happiness… You don’t find them. They find you.