What is happiness?

ImageThese days I’ve been thinking about happiness. The question What is happiness? is one of those existential questions on which many have tried to answer, but no one has succeeded in compressing it into one frame. And we, people, it seems, seek and need that frame in which we can put things, events, other people. But, happiness is elusive, evanescent, and some would say even intangible. Or maybe it is just up to us whether or not are we going to be truly happy? Is it possible to be happy without the love of your life? I mean truly happy? Or to have only love and nothing more, not to have a career, not to have money, not to have anything material, but just that special someone who loves you unconditionally? Is it possible to obtain that happiness, once we have found it, for a long period of time, or are we doomed only to fragments of happiness that we either catch or we don’t? Is it really up to us?

I can’t really answer this questions, and the main reason is maybe because I can’t really give an answer to one basic question – have I in this 21 years of my life ever been really happy? My answer could vary depending on the criteria I take into consideration from yes, through maybe, to an explicit no. I have to wonder would I be happier if I had met the love of my life by now? Maybe I wouldn’t .. Maybe I am the happiest I will ever be in my life.

I’ve been wondering lately if happiness is linked with responsibility and freedom? They say we are the happiest when we are kids. We have no worries. Kids are the happiest, kids have no responsibilities, and they have freedom. But do they really? Someone once told me that the persons with the least freedom are kids and soldiers. I have to wonder is it really so? I would have to agree, reflecting now on my childhood, with this assertion. As kids, we are limited by our parents, our teachers, even our classmates. We can’t really do what we want, and we often protest about it. I think that often when we remember our ‘’carefree’’ childhood, we forget that we always wanted to grow up so that we can do things our way, and not as someone else told us.  We thought it would make us happier. I always wanted to have long hair, and yet, my mother cut it short when I was a kid, because it was more convenient for her. I always liked movies and acting, and art in general, and yet my father wanted me to sail, to play basketball, football etc. It was only later that I managed to speak up and start taking dance and guitar lessons.

However, it seems that as we grow up we have more and more freedom but also more and more responsibilities, and we become more and more unhappy. It seems that the freedom we get is just hypothetical, and not really real. Is that what makes us unhappy? And we accuse people who have kept their child in them, and have acquired that long desired freedom, for being irresponsible and reckless. Is it necessary to be irresponsible in order to be completely free, and then completely happy?

Or maybe we can’t really know if we have reached utter happiness up until the moment of our death. Just then, they say, life flashes in front of our eyes, and maybe just then we realize what was our happiest moment, and did we even have one?

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