Binary Happiness

posted by Jonathan Frei On Saturday, September 19, 2009

For all that is out there in writing and speeches about the secret to happiness, and for all the time, effort, and energy spent on its pursuit, I don't know that the question, "How do I know when I'm happy?" has been adequately discussed.

This is a dangerous question to ask. If, after reflection and some introspective moments, I find that the answer is no, I'll realize that I need to make some changes in my life to continue the chase. However, the real danger in this question lies in another answer: Yes.

If the question is "Am I happy?" and my answer is "Yes." what then? Is the chase over? Is it now all about just fighting to keep what I have? Maybe. But answering yes to that universal human pursuit does not mean the pursuit has to be over.

Another scary answer would be "Well, I used to be?" This cryptic answer reveals, or at least implies, a loss of some sort. I don't think I used to be happy, and I'm pretty sure I'm happy now.

However, I don't think it's a simple binary equation. That's the difference between people and computers. There is never a simple off/on answer.

I think I'm happier now than I've every been, but that doesn't mean it's the end of the road or that it's all down hill from here. Every day is an opportunity to grow and become more of what I know I can and should be. That makes me closer, but I plan to never arrive and be finished.

Still, I'm not positive that it makes it happiness. What is it really? A feeling? A state of being? Something physical?

Why, with all the effort and pursuit of the secrets to happiness, is it so difficult to say what it is?
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