Thinking Aloud on A Sunday


I woke up thinking about happiness. That might be because I wasn’t feeling particularly happy today.

But it made me contemplate what happiness means. From a very young age, we learn about being happy, and making others happy. Do this or that, and it will make Mum or Dad happy. Receive some nice presents for a birthday or Christmas, and you will be asked if they make you happy. In everyday conversation, the concept of being happy turns up more often than you might think.

“Happy to see you”. “Are you happy with the service today?” “Are you happy with your main course?” “Ollie looks happy today”. “Happy with that?” “Does that price make you happy?” “Are you happy in that new job?” “I see you have changed the car. Happy with the new one?” And so on. The reverse applies of course. “They charged too much, I wasn’t happy with that dealer”. “I waited in for that parcel that didn’t arrive. I wasn’t happy, I can tell you”. If you counted up how many times you used the word in a week, I am sure it would surprise you.

Once you are old enough to aspire to something, the idea of happiness takes hold. You begin to perceive that something will make you happy. Despite being cared for by your parents, and wanting for nothing outside of your experience that far, you start to imagine being happier, all the time. You enjoyed the sweets you had just eaten, but a second bag will make you happier, you are sure of that. The new toy you got was great to play with, but the option of an additional toy would make you really happy. As you grow, it never stops. You will be happy when you’re older, and able to do things bigger children are allowed to do. The end of the school term will make you happy, as you will be on holiday for a while. But then going back to school will make you happier, because you are missing your friends.

Having your own car will make you feel grown up, and give you freedom of movement. That will make you very happy. But that car comes with its own problems. Breakdowns, flat tyres, and having to buy petrol. So, not that happy after all. Having that nice girlfriend, and getting married. You know that will make you happier than you have ever been. But you have to learn how to live with someone else, change some habits, and worry about things like unwanted relatives, and bills. So, that didn’t work out as happy as you had expected it to. Have children then, that will guarantee life fulfillment, and real happiness. I chose not to, expecting that to make me happy. One thing I will never know the answer to.

A worthwhile career must surely make you happy? Trouble is, when all’s said and done, a job’s a job, worthwhile or not. You have to go to work at times when you don’t want to, and do things you would prefer not to. So maybe that career isn’t the source of happiness after all.

Happiness is far from tangible. We are conditioned to expect it from an early age, and strive to find it, whatever that takes. But the absence of happiness is very different to real unhappiness, you learn that too. At times, it can be found in small things. The wag of a dog’s tail when you come home. Blue Tits feeding chicks in a nest box. But it is fragile, and that feeling you think is happiness can be easily shattered by one harsh word, or thoughtless gesture. Like Inner Peace, it is something we all seek, though not necessarily in the same way, at the same time. It is a word we are all very familiar with, but a sensation that is all too fleeting at the same time.

What about you? Happy?

66 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud on A Sunday

  1. To be honest, I think life is mostly a series of repetitive tasks intersected with some true moments of happiness that make the drudge bearable. I think if we were more honest about that then we’d be a bit more satisfied with life generally and a bit less inclined to be constantly consuming stuff in the pursuit of happiness. I don’t mean any of that negatively… I am just kind of a realist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post πŸ™‚ Your post reminds me of that lyric in the song Pennies from Heaven:

    “A long time ago
    A million years BC
    The best things in life
    Were absolutely free
    But no one appreciated
    A sky that was always blue
    And no one congratulated
    A moon that was always new
    So it was planned that they would vanish now and them
    And you must pay before you get them back again
    That’s what storms were made for
    And you shouldn’t be afraid for
    Every time it rains it rains
    Pennies from heaven”

    Anyway, keep up the great work as always πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 23rd of August 2008 walking along my hometown river having just kissed my date. Maybe I’ll never be that happy again but I’d lived a whole lifetime over again to live that happiness. Your point is made though, it is all so fleeting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think people put so much emphasis on β€œthe pursuit of happiness,” that they do miss the smaller moments that could bring them joy and contentment. For example: I spent a lovely 10 minutes this morning drinking my coffee and watching a mama woodchuck and her four babies playing in the grass and searching for breakfast. It is the little things indeed and in addition to Pharrell Williams’ β€œHappy”, also reminds me of Louis Armstrong’s β€œIt’s a Wonderful World.” This cover of his classic makes me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pete, virtually every other species on this planet focused on one thing only: survival. No worries about being stood up on a date, wearing the wrong clothes, not accomplishing everything you want in life, etc. While Im sure they experience “happiness” in some ways, we are the ones capable of analyzing and over-analyzing it – as I told another young blogger recently in the same vein: it’s a long haul you have to pace yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think you should never seek happiness.Don’t try to find it. Don’t think ‘ I’ll be happy if….’ We look forward to holidays because we think they will make us happy and strive to win competitions in search of happiness but I don’t think we know what has made us happy until afterwards. We get fleeting moments of joy but it is easier to recognise when we are not happy.
    I get told I laugh a lot. I don’t even know I’m doing it. Does that mean I’m happy?
    Witnessing someone you have made happy in their delight can make you happy, too.
    I look at our little dog chasing round the park and know that he is happy.
    I bake a cake or paint a wall and feel happier than when I started ( unless I’ve made a mess of it)
    Someone says they enjoyed reading one of my books and I get a little trickle of happiness. It doesn’t last. Something else can soon spoil the mood.
    I know I’m not happy at present because I’m not creating – but what makes me happy will not necessarily work for others.An absence of happiness is not the same as unhappiness.
    Give life a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Your opening line made me laugh. It was so “you”. Happiness is a brief state of being. Fragile moments that come and go quickly. Not a condition one stays in for too long. I certainly rarely feel like the wonderful dancers in the video. Love the song and the video. And then the song ends….

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Geez we could spend days of this philosophy…..I believe that an individual has the power to be happy whether they choose to use it is another story. I try to focus on the positive aspects of any situation….not saying that I have not been sad just will ot let it take control……chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yes, for the most part I am happy. Thankfulness–counting my blessings–reminds me that I should be happy, if I’m not. It doesn’t necessarily flood me with joy when I have bouts of the blues but it does set me on the right path. I’m a Christian so that infuses my life with hope and enables me to be content with less than perfection. And it has held me up, during life’s tragedies, when I couldn’t otherwise stand.

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      1. Disappeared they have and disappeared they shall remain. I am no longer interested in what goes on in the world of politics and strife and confusion and hate and bitterness. I am now dedicating what is left of my life to speaking of the eternal verities that really matter to Mankind — Thanks for your long and dedicated friendship. I appreciate you a whole big bunch. My emphasis is now at:

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m pleased to hear that you are well, John. Sorry about the blog though.
          I have clicked to follow your religious blog, but my comments will be rare, as you might guess.
          Thanks for the kind words.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I guess the saying is true, happiness is how we make it. some could be happy with a little in their pockets, some prefer an abundance of material things but if we are happy without those, then it is enough, let’s be grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I recently heard the theory that the pursuit of happiness, more specifically individual happiness, is the problem with society today. Most likely because people often believe that happiness can be bought?What we should really strive for is meaning or purpose as these things ultimately bring contentment.

    I agree that happiness is a fleeting thing though, the knack is remembering these bits and using the memory to fill the gaps in between πŸ™‚

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  12. That song makes me smile, but does it make me happy? I think I experience happiness the most when I am crying with laughter with someone else, or is that joy? Are they the same?
    Have a lovely Sunday Pete πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think happiness can be different things for different people. Sometimes I can be very happy when someone close to me has received good news which makes him or her happy. It might sound strange but often that makes me even more happy. But I can be happy about material things too. When I aquire a new book, or see a new and good film…all of these can be reasons to be happy.
    But true happiness is hard to achieve as there are often too many things in our lives that try to take that away from us. But that said, I try to at least smile or laugh at things one time a day…it usually means that you are still alive 😊😊 Have a great sunday Pete!😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Michel. As I always say, I’m just ‘thinking aloud’. The good fortune of friends is a reason to be happy indeed. Sad to say that in many cases, the outcome is jealousy instead.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  14. Happiness isn’t about material things, is it? I would say I am generally content with life, having some great friends and I am generally able to manage…but ask me again in a few years, Pete! And I have had a very happy week, seeing quite a few friends, and going to different places….now the hideous heat has gone, I feel alive again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not about material things at all, I agree. Though modern society tries hard to make us believe that it is. (One of my dog-walking people finds it hard to comprehend that I don’t have a ‘sound bar’ for the TV!) Most of those I see with lots of money and possessions are only striving to get better or newer ones. Pleased to hear that you are doing well in the cooler weather. I wouldn’t mind feeling warm again though. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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