Everyone has, at least at one point in their lives, strived for happiness. We treat happiness like it’s a prize to be won, but not a prize we get to hold on to for extended periods of time. There are always bumps in the road, but how do we get back on the “road to happiness?” Who determines what happiness means? How is our view of happiness influenced by our society? The road to happiness is a personal journey. Happiness is best determined by you, even though society will try to influence you.
Happiness doesn’t necessarily have a clear-cut definition. Yes, you can find ‘happiness’ in the dictionary, but everyone has their own definition of happiness. Even though everyone has their own definition of happiness, there are researchers out there trying to pinpoint the “official” definition of happiness. (Cook, 1) In the article “The Dark Side of Happiness” written by Gareth Cook, he states: “The last decade has been a golden era in the rigorous study of happiness, with researchers defining, ever more precisely, what makes us happy” (1). Ultimately, the definition of happiness falls upon you to decide. My definition of happiness won’t be the same as yours. There are a lot of things that I can think of that make me happy. My happiness is watching the Vampire Diaries every Thursday, going on the occasional vacation with my family, getting an actual letter in my mailbox, and listening to music. It doesn’t seem like these little things would make someone incandescently happy, especially considering that these things might not make others happy. But these little things give me something to look forward to.
Throughout my life, I have had my fair share of bumps in the road. One little rock on the road used to make me so upset that I thought there was no possible way I would ever be happy again. However, I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way. Something bad happens one day, and you think that it couldn’t get any worse than that; and then it does. I’ll be honest, it’s easy at that point to just break down and wallow in your sadness. I will even admit that there have been several times when I’ve done just that. Time has taught me that it might seem bad at that moment, but it’s really not. In the TED talk “The Surprising Science of Happiness” by Dan Gilbert, he states this fact: “A recent study showing how major life traumas affect people suggests that if it happened over three months ago, with only a few exceptions, it has no impact whatsoever on your happiness” (Gilbert). I have also had people suggest things that would make me feel happy again. I would take their advice into consideration, and test out their ideas. They’re worth a shot, right? However, nothing really ever worked for me. My “advisors” would seem quite disappointed that their “methods to happiness” did not work on me. After that, I would be left to myself to figure out a way to get back on the road to happiness.
Within the last few years, I’ve realized that I’m just where I need to...