It truly stumps me how poor peasants in India can honestly report to be happy when I have so much going for me and yet feel downright rotten without reason. So is happiness a question of lowering expectations or intellect or ignoring bothersome trivialities or WHAT? Is it just a case of believing that there’s a caring, nurturing God out there who’ll reward this suffering with a ticket to heaven?
If you were to ask me, “What would make you happy?” I’d probably come up with a whole list of requests. But even if we were to cross out the whole darned check list and put tax evaders behind bars, change the economy, stop global warming, bring world peace and even personally make me a zillionaire, would I really be happy? Probably not!
Reminds me of this question - If today someone were to find out that they would be wheelchair-bound for the rest of their life while somewhere else another person had just hit jackpot in a lottery win, which of the two do you think would be happiest a year from now? The initial urge is to back the just-made zillionaire, but then you think – “Nah, too easy!”
There was even research conducted on this back in 1978. Two groups - accident victims and Illinois state lottery winners - were asked about their lives and were monitored for a year. It was found that after an initial surge of despair or joy, depending on the circumstances, just a year after the life-changing event they underwent, both groups had returned to the same level of happiness or misery they had sustained earlier as though nothing extraordinary had ever happened.
So what is this happiness thing, and how do we get some? Is it that easy to just wake up and say, "How glorious it is to be alive"? Do some people, like myself, prefer to wallow in misery and have pity parties for themselves rather than rant about the miracle that undoubtedly life is?
Or perhaps sometimes we just need to be miserable. After all, if every day was sunny, imagine how tragic it would be for our crops.