Happiness is Not Overrated

Jun 4, 2013 by

          Last Monday night, I was in Starbucks, typing into the night. Suddenly realizing the time in the bottom right corner of my laptop now showing 3 am (24-hour Starbucks locations are awesome!), it was time to go. I had to be up for the gym in three hours. As I pulled my earphones out, the guy to my right immediately began talking to me. He was curious about my writing. Since my blog isn’t up yet, I felt weird saying that I was blogging, expecting the conversation to go a little something like this:

          Guy: “What’s your blog called?”

          Me: “The Happiness Experiment.”

          Google: Not found.

          Instead, I said that I was journaling (and immediately hated my use of that term). Questions exploded from his mouth. He asked me what I was journaling about. I froze. I happened to be writing my post about the hot bartender who never called me, so it was personal! (Although, it’s arguably not personal anymore, now that it’s on the internet for all to see.) When someone says they’re “journaling,” the private nature is overtly implied. Asking what I’m “journaling” (I really dislike that word) about is literally like asking for a peak into my diary (which doesn’t exist by the way, because I don’t journal; I blog). I didn’t know what to say. I was irritated that this guy was holding up my slumber with questions I did not want to answer. (I’m smiling in hypocrisy as I write this, because I know if this guy were hot, I would have been smitten by his interest in my writing.)

          I love meeting new people, but a creepy older man asking me where I live (yes, he asked this, and I obviously avoided the question) at 3 am set off my fight or flight response. I opted for flight, giving every possible human signal that I wanted out of this conversation. I shut down my laptop. I took out my keys. I attempted to reinsert my earphones after silencing the laptop that had been playing my music. I stood up. I said I had to go.

          Then, out of nowhere, somewhere amongst random conversation about retirement (help!), he said the worst thing anyone could say to me: “Happiness is overrated.” I’m sure my eyebrows suddenly arched up as my eyes narrowed to form an icy silent response. At this point, I left. With a wink, he told me to keep writing. I kind of appreciated the encouragement, but I was pissed.

          Happiness is not overrated. Don’t ever let anyone make you think otherwise. In fact, I would argue the exact opposite, as happiness sadly sits at the bottom of too many people’s priority lists, trailing miserably behind money, career, education, and whatever else we’re throwing our lives away for. People who say that happiness is overrated are likely accustomed to unhappiness. If they felt happy, I highly doubt they’d emit those hopeless words. (In fact, I’d probably feel bad for this guy if I weren’t made so bitter by his arrogance. He also questioned the decisions of my generation and whether or not I felt like I am settling in my life. It was 3 am!)

          Ultimately, everyone’s purpose in life is to be happy. What makes each of us happy may be different, but we all have the same fundamental goal of achieving happiness. This is coming from someone who was so unhappy that she used to question, in disbelief that happiness existed, if anyone is ever truly happy or if they are all playing pretend. Now that I’m focussed on my happiness and I feel happy on a daily basis, I can confirm that happiness does exist and it’s invigorating. Happiness is not overrated; it is under-experienced.

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