The Pursuit of Happiness


I was chatting yesterday with a friend who I have not seen for years now. We were talking about life in general when suddenly, she asked me the dreadful question:

"Jeno, are you happy?"

If our relationship as friends have not been that long and if she were just someone I barely know, the answer to that question would be, "fuck off!" or a simple yes or no. However, she asked me this question before in my depression years and my answer was literally two hours of crying until I fell asleep. It was the height of my drama queen days and she knows exactly that the question needs more than a yes or no answer after all those years. The question is more thought provoking now than ever before.

The question was simple but tricky. Thinking about it, it's an everyday thing to say your fine when someone asks you if you are without really deciphering what "fine" means. Saying fine becomes automatic that it doesn't make sense anymore. However, the question of happiness is more personal. It only takes special friends and rare moments for conversations like these.

I would like to think that happiness is overrated and I wanted my answer to make sense to her.

" And why is it overrrated?" she asked.

"People do impossible things, go beyond their ways in search of happiness just to be disappointed in the end. I believe that happiness is a state of mind, happiness is a momentary experience".

" So, Are you happy?" Not contented with my answer, she asked.

" I am happy at this moment because I am speaking with you and our other friends"

" You don't answer my question".

" I just did".

Anthony Quinn, in his autobiography Original Sin, wrote, " Who said that we were brought to this earth to be happy?--Television!". When I read this years ago, I thought that was a rather pessimistic view of life. Life is harsh, tough and everything in between but happiness is not like a Birkin bag---You don't have to wait for two years to have one; you don't have to to work years, to acquire one. Yes, life could be rather too harsh sometimes, you feel like happiness only exists in Walt Disney films but after a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream or a mindblowing sex, you feel like you're in cloud 9, don't you?

Until now, I don't think I am capable of answering the same question with a yes or a no; neither can I describe happiness in a Hallmark (card) way. I don't think anyone is purely happy unless he/she is mentally incapacitated to distinguish the difference. True, I have millions of things to be be thankful for and appreciate, which I honestly do. However, there is always something missing...something that makes you feel incomplete hence, unhappy.

I am happy typing this entry. I just wish I was more eloquent.