“The only happiness in life is to love and be loved.”
I read this on a gift bag as I stood in line at Ross with an ottoman on my hip carefully balancing it with my one good arm. Thirty minutes later, I am continuing to reflect on this rather cliché pillow quote. It is cute and palatable and wonderful if it was true. Everyone would like the world to be simplified into this one basic truth. But is it really?
Happiness to me is looking in the freezer to find there is still some ice cream left for me. It is waking up to a clean house that was a mess when I went to bed. Happiness to me is buying Valentine socks for my favorite girl.
What are the things that make others happy?
As I write this, I am surrounded by a few of my young, single, male friends. What makes them happy? I asked each one and could see on their countenance how each scrolled through a mental list of things that make them happy. What was eventually blurted out: sleep, family and boobs. Let’s not forget to consider the source.
What would a random polling of strangers uncover about happiness? Some of the things that brought happiness to people were cold beer, spouses, steamy sex, working out, loud music, enjoying outdoor activities, chocolate and their children.
Where do you find happiness?
I find happiness in new adventures, a long walk and a kiss when I get home. Happiness is a day off, watching the sun set and looking at beautiful pictures of my daughter. I find happiness in working towards a common goal and in intimate conversation.
What brings happiness to the three teens I love the most? Their answers came via text: drums and dance. I could probably safely assume that technology in one form or another may rank high on the list as well.
And the people I am closest to? Where do they find happiness? One finds happiness in the happiness of her spouse and children. One finds it in hearty laughter, and another in seeing and hearing about small acts of kindness.
After considerable introspective thought, I have decided that there is a fundamental truth that happiness in life is to love and be loved. Is it the only happiness? I think it is where happiness is birthed. The freedom, security, joy and comfort that comes as a result of our most precious relationships colors our lives and allows us to enjoy the happiness that comes from a variety of things. To be void of love entirely- void of the love that comes from our parents, our children, our best friends, our loves- would leave a soul a desolate wasteland.
Maybe if I was the writer for a greeting card company, I might say it differently. However, the essence is the same: All happiness in life begins with loving and being loved. You may quote me.