What Even Is Happiness?


This summer, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of happiness. The concept keeps obnoxiously resurfacing in my life, like a fly you could’ve sworn you swatted away. My problem with happiness is that sometimes, deep down,  I really don’t think I’ll ever be happy. That it’s unattainable–not for everyone, just for me. Can ambition ever yield happiness? Do I even want to trade hunger for satiation? Is it worth it?

I’m still not sure.

This summer, I had everything that I thought one might need in order to be happy. A new season of life, a room of my own (Virginia Woolf style AND full of rugs & candles), a fun relationship, a dream job, etc. But I still felt that ache, that craving, clawing wild animal of unrest. Move, go, leave: the words pound at my heart and at my feet like a steady rain.

I still don’t know.

That same relationship ended with a conversation regarding, of course, happiness. How I seemed too happy all the time, how impossible and unsustainable that was. Of course I’m not happy, I said. I never will be, I think. Isn’t that obvious, I wonder? (It’s the depression, I know.)

I think instead of happiness, I crave peace, a balm for the seemingly unstoppable unrest in my mind. Instead of happiness, I desire joy. I’m focusing on finding the little moments and activities in life that give me fulfillment and feel meaningful. More than the grandiose, romanticized idea of “doing something important and big,” I want to find joy in being fully 24. In the changes, mistakes, hopes, the small things. In being wrong. In learning and growing. In allowing myself to be a person rather than an idea (and the grace & empathy which comes with that.)

I’m okay with not knowing.

I’m hopeful for happiness for the future. And I know I’m responsible for my own happiness. But mainly, I’d like to see where this unrest takes me–because I have a feeling it’s going to be a wild adventure.  

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