So I was at happy hour the other day (it’s a corporate thing, okay?) when I started talking about a book that I am reading (I was very thankful at this moment that I have been reading books). Stumbling on Happiness is about happiness, its existence, and the sciences (neurology, psychology etc.) behind it.
My coworker brought up an anecdote she had recently heard- a study that followed two people, a man who just became paralyzed and another who had just won the lottery. After a year, both exhibited/claimed an equal level of happiness with their lives. Although I see this as being an extreme case, I am inclined to believe that after a given amount of time, happiness levels neutralize.
I was probably the happiest right after I graduated. Everything was turning up “Kate” and I was so excited to begin the promising life ahead of me. I still feel that way, nothing has changed for the worse and in the grand scheme, I would consider myself in a better position today that I was back then. However, I feel like my happiness has kind of leveled out and I am no longer waking up every day full of excitement for the world that lies ahead.
Relationships are another example- my relationship with Joe is amazing. I get what I need from it, we have tons of fun together and we rarely fight (and if we do, we talk through it in a healthy way, which is crazy in its own). However, it was more exciting when it was new- I felt like it gave me a visible happiness that anyone could see. I wouldn’t say that this has worn off, but the constant smile that was on my face has turned into just an everyday-expression.
So, what I’m getting at, is whether happiness is a truly attainable goal. Most people wish others happiness in life, but isn’t happiness momentary? If after a year, I would feel about just as happy if I were making millions or just reading a few awesome books… what’s the point? I feel like I’ve been nurtured to believe that success somehow leads to happiness, but if happiness comes with anything, wouldn’t I be just as fine twiddling my thumbs?
No… probably not, and maybe this is the inherent complication of happiness.