The Desire of Happiness

A free-write on feelings

At times it is difficult to wake up and find joy.

Because, you see, happiness is a commodity. One that is to be bought and sold. “If I just get x then I will be happy.” We say to ourselves. It makes happiness a never ending and unattainable dream, leaving us constantly wanting more and wondering when it will be our turn to achieve the kind of success that comes with happiness.

Desire is therefore intermixed with happiness. What we desire are the things that will make us happy. Sometimes it’s tangible: A better job, a house, a paycheck. Sometimes it’s a bit more ethereal: an opportunity, a feeling, the thought of being loved, a spark of creativity.

Desire is what makes happiness into a commodity. We desire something, and we must “hustle” to get the thing. In a gig economy, that’s how it works.

The problem, of course, is that happiness is a state of mind. It’s a feeling. It’s also fleeting.

Happiness can be something as simple as the first sip of coffee, or a beautiful sunrise on a crisp morning. Happiness is taking a risk, or watching your children take their first step. Happiness is popcorn and movies, or a warm blanket. Happiness is the smell of grass, or that laugh that bursts, unexpectedly, from your chest like birds taking flight from the trees. Happiness is looking inward and finding joy within yourself, rather than attempting to purchase it.

Of course, in a society where everything can be bought; including fame and fortune, it’s difficult to separate happiness from desire. Especially now, when so many of us feel as though the world is tumbling down to the ground.

And I don’t have an answer, except to say that happiness is a million little things that you feel over the course of a regular day. It is intermingled with sadness and fear and frustration and anger — all the trappings of a human life. It doesn’t have to be something you accrue, it just has to be something you notice.

By mshipstory


I'm Lindsay Adams. I'm passionate about history, teaching, and writing.

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