Robert Cormack (@rbcormack) has certainly given me a lot to think about early this Monday morning through his piece entitled “Happiness Is Boring: The un-glamorized truth about our cheery, merry, joyful and beatific lives.”
He begins by referring to Shel Silverstein’s poem “The Land of Happy.”
Have you been to the land of happy,
Where everyone’s happy all day,
Where they joke and they sing
Of the happiest things,
And everything’s jolly and gay?
There’s no one unhappy in Happy
There’s laughter and smiles galore.
I have been to The Land of Happy-
What a bore
Mr. Cormack then continues his happiness odyssey by taking aim at Facebook. People post on FB, he claims, to make us envious of their travels and accomplishments and la-dee-da life. We scroll through posts looking for happiness or joy or some sort of ejaculation-like release of endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. Sadly, studies show we only end up sadder after spending time on Facebook. And the longer we’re on it, the further down the rabbit hole of depression we fall. Counterproductive? You bet. Counterintuitive? Duh.
Mr. Cormack references a bunch of heavyweights throughout history, including an interesting story behind the etymology of the word “fleeting,” but there’s one particular line from his piece that I really liked:
Maybe that’s why some people never find joy. Like everything in our universe, it’s more or less a mistake. It’s like love. Love is crazy. Trying to figure it out is like trying to understand roughage. We just know it works.
I suppose the lesson here is that happiness is not the goal, it’s the journey. It’s not in the comparisons to other people’s lives or accomplishments but in the day-to-day struggle we all find ourselves in no matter how fantastic! our perfect situation may seem to others. The truth is that we’re all fighting our way through this jungle called existence, and the only people who enjoy a modicum of what can loosely be referred to as happiness are those who realize that “there” is no better than “here,” and that happiness is not the end goal. It’s in the here and now, the trenches of daily life, and the challenges we face on a minute-to-minute basis.
To quote a man far wiser than myself, I’ll refer to one L. Tolstoy, who once said, “If you want to be happy, be.”