When we were in primary school, one of the most curious question was “What do you want to become when you grow up?” It was not only asked by teachers or principal in school, but also by parents, friends and acquaintances. The most common answers to the question were a doctor, policemen, engineer, athlete, teacher, army officer, etc.
Nowadays, when I think of this question, I wonder about two things. First, why we never answered things like a writer, a painter, a designer, an administrative assistant, a market researcher, etc.? Second, now that we have grown up, the answer to ‘What do you want to become?’ has changed. All of us now want to become happy.
Talking about the first thing, the reason most of us (as children) never expressed interest for writing, painting, designing and so on is because we knew mostly about the jobs which were very common or held by people we came into contact in our daily life.
Now that we have grown up, the vision of our life has shifted from a specific hob or living status to a feeling (being happy). During my first year of engineering, I came across a book in the college library— The Art of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. Like many people, my goal too was to become a happy person.
It was the first book I had ever read, and it took me long to finish it. Although, the book didn’t help me being happy, but it helped me develop my interest in reading.
With the time, I found that so many people want to be happy and there are endless books and articles written about it.
At the end of the tunnel, I still don’t know the meaning of happiness and what it feels like. I wonder if I have ever felt happy. But the thing is— I’m finally okay with it. Nobody needs to have sympathy or feel sorry for me.
What is happiness?
I’m not a philosopher, neither do I feel that I can answer such a big question.
According to Psychology Today, “A happy person is someone who experiences frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety and anger. Happiness has also been said to relate to life satisfaction, appreciation of life, moments of pleasure, but overall it has to do with the positive experience of emotions.”
Most of the times (or worse, all the time), when I’m thinking or over-thinking, I’m not present with my surroundings. And I believe that you can have the best feelings about something only if you are experiencing that thing, rather than thinking about the experience. Hence, I don’t know what happiness is. It is just a mere word to me, of which I feel nothing when I write, read or hear it.
However, I know the feeling of joy, calm, laughter, losing myself in someone’s conversation, and more. The last time I laughed hard was when my girlfriend visited me last weekend, where I also lost myself in her conversations. She brings all the good emotions whenever she comes.
But the happiness is still alien to me. I know of good and bad emotions. On one hand, there are joy, calm, appreciation, and laughter. On other, there are fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and doubt.
There is nothing like happiness. The more I think of happiness, the more meaningless this word becomes to me. Or maybe, it is just a vague concept.
Suggested reading: The Test of My Life- from cricket to cancer and back