“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Chasing after happiness is what most people spend their lives doing. Ask yourself…What makes me happy? You make say a new car would make you happy or buying a pair of high-end shoes. Maybe it’s even more basic and a nice bowl or tub of ice cream.
When we’re young, the path to happiness seems relatively straightforward. Want a new toy or bike? Want to play all day, eat sweets, rinse and repeat? Simple. Age tends to make you see things differently, you lose people close to you, and all those material things mean pretty little in the grand scheme of it all. It’s learning that grand scheme that changes your perspective on what makes a person happy.
You see, the cycle of life shifts our focus from our own desires to the needs and happiness of others. This shift is more of an evolution than a sudden change. It’s a gradual maturing process, a slow realization that the happiness derived from material possessions is fleeting at best. And then you stumble upon a deeper truth: happiness is not the goal. It’s the by-product of a life well-lived.
Living well doesn’t mean living extravagantly or selfishly. It means contributing to the world around us, making a difference in other people’s lives, leaving a positive impact. It could be as simple as helping an elderly neighbor with their groceries or volunteering at a local shelter. It could also mean pursuing a career that pays the bills and fulfills a greater purpose.
It’s about acknowledging that our actions ripple outwards, affecting others in ways we might never know. And it is through these actions, through this dedication to living a meaningful life, that we uncover a kind of happiness that is more enduring and profound.
This deeper happiness doesn’t dull over time or fade away with the novelty of a new purchase. It’s a contentment that seeps into our bones, warming us from the inside out. It’s the happiness that comes from knowing we’ve made a difference, however small, in this vast and beautiful world. And that, my friends, is a happiness worth chasing.