This past semester, I took a class called The Art of Happiness. When people would ask me about it, I would explain that it was loosely based on the Dalai Lama’s book, and that we explored the core ideas that he believed affected happiness. It became a joke to some of my friends when I told them I was working on my Happiness homework, but despite the fact that some people take the class solely because it’s an easy A, I found that a few of my assignments for Dr. Goodwin’s class were some of the most challenging assignments I completed all semester.
I think that especially for people our age, one of the most important topics that we kept reinforcing was the difference between pleasure and happiness. While something may give you instant gratification, the shine usually wears off pretty quickly. Meanwhile, some things may not seem as appealing at first, but in the long run, the effect is that they make you a happier person overall.
The truth is that no one is happy all the time. That would be unhealthy because happiness is an emotion and we’re meant to feel them all. I believe that allowing yourself to experience both the negatives and the positives is a part of living an overall happy life. Because happiness is also a state of mind. It’s a choice. You can decide if you are going to let circumstance affect you or if you are going to rise above. People tend to brush off the good things that happen to them and dwell on the bad, but with time and effort, perspectives can change.
This is my happiness journey. There are a lot of unknowns in my life right now, but I know what makes me happy. I do my best to surround myself with those things every day. Even on the days when adversity strikes, I try to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
One way of looking at this project is that I failed. I made it 110 days into what I originally planned to be a 365 day journey. The other way of looking at it is that I succeeded in stepping away from my phone and technology in order to live in the moment and enjoy it sometimes without feeling the pressure of having to capture it to share with some audience I’m trying to impress. Because that was not the point of this journey. I hold memories close to me from all the days since the last picture I posted. Some of them are saved in photographs not shared, others in journal entries, and more still may one day be lost because they have been left to peacefully exist solely in the abyss of my mind. That’s part of the beauty of it. They’re my memories, and I have decided to be a part of them.