This. This right here, ladies and gents. As someone who has dealt with depression in shocking waves, this means a lot to me. I think we, as a people, especially in America, think that happiness is…. automatic? It is a goal, surely, as it is at the core of the “American Dream.” But it seems many people are surprised when they are not happy, and yet they have what they think will make them happy, or they just feel that they should be happy…. just because.
However, Thomas Jefferson wasn’t just trying to be pretty when he used the word “pursuit” of happiness. Pursuit is a loaded word. The Oxford English Dictionary defines it first and foremost as it pertains to law. However, the 4th definition listed, says this:
The action or an act of seeking or striving to obtain, attain, or accomplish some objective; (also) †an endeavour, an attempt (obs.).
Thus, in using pursuit of happiness, Jefferson was implying a lot. Mostly, he was saying, quite clearly, that everyone is (or should be) guaranteed the right to try and be happy. To try and find happiness. To obtain, attain, or accomplish happiness. But no one is guaranteed being automatically happy. Happiness is something you have to work at. And it is not easy, and it will be different for everyone.
For me, I have often fallen into the trap of thinking that “life is good, so I should always be happy.” But that’s not true. And recently, I’ve been hit with waves of despair, despite being in a pretty awesome place in my life. There is a documentary called “Happy” that explains how happiness is something that has to be worked towards, and constantly exercised. Thus, I realised that I wasn’t doing things to keep me happy. I was just doing the same old things. However, I know now that I need to keep going, keep striving towards happiness.
And I am hoping that part of the journey to be happier, will involve me blogging it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep up, but we will see.
Either way, happiness is something you have to chase. Even if you have to run like hell.