I Found Happiness, It Was Under the Couch!

Happy Women | How to Find Happiness | Happiness 2.0

The title of this article sounds ridiculous, does it not? Yet most people look for happiness as if it is an object they can find if they just look long and hard enough.

There is a relatively new field of psychology that studies the causes of happiness and what has and continues to emerge is that happiness is in the doing, not in the having.
It is found in the experiences we share with others as opposed to the material things that we so steadfastly believe will bring happiness.

This is poignantly evidenced by deathbed utterances. You are not likely to hear the dying espouse, “I sure regret that I never got a Cadillac.” What you will hear is, “I sure wish I had danced more, gone barefoot on the beach more, traveled more, spent more time with my family, not sweated the small stuff.” Oddly, the dying seem to have a crystal clear understanding of the true nature of happiness that is lost on the living. That’s truly tragic but it does not have to be that way at all.

Another enemy of happiness is apathy and/or laziness. Think about how many examples there are in your life of friends or acquaintances who choose to spend almost all of their leisure time on their couches in front of the television or surfing the web.(By the way, using the term “surfing” to describe an activity that involves sitting in a chair staring at a screen is a terrible disservice to a word that really means being outdoors in the glorious sunshine, carving up a triple set of turquoise blue waves.) Life will pass you by on your couch – I promise.

Can you imagine a dying person saying, “Man, I sure wish I’d have stayed home and watched more TV”? The reason healthy people stay planted is just plain laziness in most cases. It’s just too much trouble to make a plan, get up, get ready, and go somewhere and before you hit me with the expense argument, the list of completely free things to see and do is virtually endless and the axiom, “The greatest things in life are free”, holds much truth. A walk in the woods with your love (spouse, partner, dog, friend all qualify) can be one of the most amazing things in the world.

Perhaps the greatest thing you can do for yourself and those you love is to get out there and share experiences together. Those are the things you will one day look back on as the happiest times of your life. You will have long forgotten the car, the clothes, the big screen TV. But you will most certainly remember that day at the beach, that play, that concert, that walk under the stars, that trip, that hike, that sunset.

I am writing this on a Friday. I love Fridays. The day sits on the leading edge of a weekend full of glorious possibilities. My wife has been traveling on business this week and she returns home this evening. We will share a meal then start planning our weekend. Who knows what’s in store – the museum? a drive through the Louisiana bayou country? a trip to some new, unfamiliar place? I don’t know but I do know this, the anticipation and planning is at least half the fun. I also know what we won’t be doing – looking for happiness under the couch.

~Edward G. Dunn

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