I once heard a tale called “The Happy Man’s Shirt.” The fast paced version is that a very rich and powerful king’s son is depressed. The king tries super hard to figure out why but the son says he doesn’t even know why he’s depressed. He just knows he is unhappy. The king is completely baffled by this and is worried his son may die of unhappiness. So the king decreed a search in order to find a truly happy man, for as the astronomer’s story tells; if his son was to trade his shirt with a truly happy man, he would too, find happiness. The king’s men searched far and wide and found two men who were said to be truly happy. They found a priest and a neighboring king who were thought to be truly happy men. After carefully examining them, the king found that neither of the men were truly happy because they wanted more and were not content with what they had. As he became more frustrated, he decided to go hunting to blow off some steam. As he went to hunt his prey, he came across a young boy singing in the woods and thought that a voice like that was one of a truly happy man. When he confronted the boy, he offered him riches and to come with him to the capitol. As the young boy tried to decline, the King took him to the capitol anyways in order to save his son. As soon as they got there, the king took off his jacket and found that the happy man wore no shirt.
This tale tells us that happiness is not found in possessions or materialistic things. Not one thing can make a person happy. Not money, cars, houses, or even a shirt. If that’s the case, what does happiness mean?
There is a famous quote that lists a ton of things that make up happiness. Of this list, Falling in love is first, among “no lines at the supermarket, giggling, getting mail, your first kiss, waking up and realizing you have still have a few hours left to sleep, and puppies.” Although these things do make people happy, can these define happiness?
Basically, I’m saying that I have no freaking clue. So I thought I’d look to the important people. Maybe they would know-
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation.
William H. Sheldon
Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.
So I have gathered that happiness = life. To go more in depth, happiness = a good job + good morals + freedom + good health + good intentions + you.
To be happy, you shouldn’t have to look at it as an equation.
To be honest – I don’t think happiness can be defined. One person’s happiness will be different than another.
I used to think that all people were like me. I used to think that everyone was a Christian, that they were straight, played sports, had a good childhood, liked to watch movies, and that they are all naturally good people with good intentions. Growing up now, I realized I was mistaken.
In my lifetime, I have met Athiests, Mormans and people who don’t believe in anything because they don’t see the point. One of my best friends said, “I don’t know if there’s a God up there, but if there is, he doesn’t like me.”
I’ve met lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, trisexuals and I even learned what a pansexual was. I’ve met people who have been raped, neglected, adopted, picked on, valedictorian, and people who have had parents that were never there. I’ve had people come into my life that have hurt me with the only intention to hurt me. I have figured out that there are bad people in the world and there is no one like me.
I came to this realization when I went to college. There is no one like me, not even my twin sister. We all go through different experiences and I can officially say there is not one person on this Earth that is like me. The only thing that relates people together is circumstances. While I sit and talk with my best friends from Warrensburg, I can’t help but think about their stories. What brought them here? We have the rich ginger, the whore, the goody-goody, the convict, and then me. We have completely different lives but we were all brought in one place. The time we spent there will never change and it defines who we are. We share memories. We lived.
So … do I have a point?
Yes. Just like happiness itself can’t be defined, neither can we. You aren’t the same person you’ve always been. Every person will have different memories, different relationships, and a different life. Happiness isn’t the time we spent on earth. Time runs out.
As I sit on that front porch with my friends, or the patio with my family – the situations are similar. I am with the people that mean the world to me. I am spending my limited time on earth with these people. And that brings my heart joy.
I believe happiness is made by the people you surround yourself with and the memories made.
I think the problem with people is that they think that happiness is some eternal state. They think that if you fight for it and work hard everyday, you’ll eventually achieve the state of happiness and stay that way until you die. I don’t think that’s how it works. Some days you will be happy. You will find days that make you feel peaceful and free. But there will be days that frustrate you. There will be days that overwhelm you with sadness. There will be days where you will be so mad or depressed that you will do anything just to make the pain stop. But then again, you’ll still have happy days.
You can’t achieve a permanent state of happiness. But you can surround yourself with people and experiences that will make you think that you’re pretty close.
The one thing that reminds me of happiness is death. When I think about my dying day, whenever that may be, I don’t think about what job I’ll have, or the money I’ll have. I don’t think about what house I’ll be dying in or the shoes I own. To be honest, I probably won’t get a beautiful death bed with glamour and beauty. I’ll probably die in a hospital (you can only assume.)
I’ll die in a room with empty white walls, ticking beeps, and murmur in the halls. I’ll die in orange socks they give you to keep your feet warm and not the Louis Vuitton boots I bought. It won’t even be a shirt. The only thing that I think about that day is the people I hope have made it with me to the end. I think about what friends will be there and what family is still alive. I think my final day will be me and the ones I love talking about the crazy shit we did and just laugh.
It won’t be about the stuff we own and bought. It has never been the stuff. Its the people you bring with you on the ride. That is happiness.