On Happiness

Many believe they are happy. Many believe they are not.

What is happiness? An illusive, impossible dream?

Would we be happy if we had a little more? Would we be unhappy if we had a little less?

If you’re wondering whether you are truly happy, then here is an exercise to help you decide.

Imagine time travel is real, however there is one inescapable catch. When you travel back you forget everything that has already happened, including that you have traveled back and are reliving something that has already occurred. Everything that previously occurred will recur, precisely as it did before.

Nothing changes.  Not a breath, not a moment. Every instant you relive is repeated. Nothing changes.

If you know this and would do it all again, without the slightest change, then you have known happiness.

Happiness realized: Is the truest measure of happiness, that we would go back in time to relive it precisely as we already have?

Where does happiness dwell? In the past, in the moment, or in the future? Happiness Realized, is the past. Momentary Happiness, is now. Unrealized Happiness, is the future.

Should we trade Unrealized Happiness for happiness that is real?

What is happiness that is real? It is the happiness we have now, soon to become a memory.  You may be tempted to trade your current moments for possible moments that may never come. That decision is entirely yours and yes,  there are times when the payoff is huge.  For example investing time in your friendships, or increasing your exercise to reduce your weight. However there are many times when there is no payoff at all and all you ever get is the possibility of future happiness.  Experience may teach you to tell the difference.  Personally speaking, I’m not willing to do something that makes me miserable yet promises to reward me at some indeterminate time in the future.  But you’re not me, are you?

Perhaps the following mantra might touch you…

Live the future such that you’d gladly relive it once it becomes the past.

About C.G.Ayling

Musing misuser of words, lover of lyrical literature, author, occasional contrary thoughts. An honorable man’s name, in memoriam.
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