Is Happiness Even Interesting Anymore?

detail of sculpture, starfish, black-eyed peas, earth

The word HAPPINESS seems to have been reduced to something bordering on off-putting in our culture.

Even as I write it I sense the collection of letters making up this word has lost the gravity and honesty of what it used to represent to us.

“…the pursuit of happiness, ” and all that…

It has become sort of a luke-warm idea instead of an inspiring marker.

I hear a friend say: “I was happiest when I was a teenager on vacation with my family.”

I heard myself say in another conversation: “I have a great life” and almost feel embarrassed after I said it.

Why would a declaration on my part like that cause me pause?

And how come my friend is wistful in the happiness department?

It just seems like we are all working so damn hard to provide or bring forward something of substance or change the world or create castles or shine brighter than the next or get one step out in front of the present moment,

That now we’ve just got the past and the future with little or no attention to the middle part.

I have to wonder what it is that allows me to declare that I have a great life because if you look at the theater of some of my days, you’d be pretty hard pressed to make the bridge.


1. I am certain there are forces greater than me and I call on them when need be and usually get help or clarity. Not always but enough to keep doing it.

2. After pretty much a lifetime of living solo, I can now finally say I find myself utterly enchanting on good days and fairly entertaining on the rest. I say that because it has been a whole slew of decades steeped in the vestiges of self-doubt and a pretty dim view of myself all the way around (old mother stuff). It took me this long to love myself and only now can I even consider loving another fully and well.
I have a friend who said the greatest gift in turning 60 is the knowledge and freedom to know and declare (mostly to the mirror by yourself) I FINALLY LOVE MYSELF AND I DONT CARE IF YOU DONT OR CANT!
This is very ‘Sally Field’ I know, but I wonder why it is more accepted to connect through angst than the pleasure in our greatness?

3. I have gathered a tribe around me that remind me who I am when I forget.

4. I am not afraid of death but keep it on my shoulder as a friend to inform my life.

5. Creativity is my favorite food.

6. I have a beloved dog in my life and she keeps me honest.

7. I try to wear gratitude like a favorite cashmere sweater.

8. Learning how to live in an unguarded and more vulnerable way lets me be moved by love, kindness, beauty, horror, laughter and tears when before, I was too armored up to feel them at all.

9. I am curious about each person’s story. (with some exceptions)

10. I’m better at saying NO.

11. I’m better at saying YES.

12. I experience ENVY very infrequently.

13. I know where to go to get the perfect lipstick.

14. The only thing I know for sure is that everything changes.

15. And then it does it again…
16. ….and once again.


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