I Just Want to be Happy


I discovered early on that life isn’t fair. White people were treated better than black people. Rich people were treated better than poor people. There were beautiful people and there were ugly people. It was all so simple and clear.

I was taught about “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, but they were just empty words. Sure, life was a given (if not, none of this would matter), liberty was apparent as I wasn’t in prison, but happiness? That was a concept I didn’t understand. I thought it was for the rich, white beautiful people that I saw on tv.

I thought being smarter would up my happiness quotient, but stupid people seemed to be having a much better time.

Even on tv happiness was marred by all the disturbing stories on war, famine, homelessness. Seemingly happy people were getting divorced, complaining about their kids or finding something to be unhappy about. They were even complaining about the poor people that they felt they had to dole out money to.

After years of settling for unhappy (except for the synthetic kind) I’m choosing happy because the neuroscientists say we can and so do philosophers, psychiatrists and Oprah. Who am I to argue?

Unhappiness sure wasn’t working, so why not try it? I tried Suze Ormon’s “debt diet” and should have that all taken care of by the time I’m 90. This happiness thing should be a piece of cake in comparison.

According to the happiness pundits I don’t have to worry about when I’m 90 or even tomorrow–the secret to happiness is to focus on the present–the past is gone and we can’t do a thing about it and the future may not even happen so why worry about that. The only thing we have is this moment. Now, now, now… I’m writing this now and I’m actually enjoying this now. I’m also not working right now and that makes me happy.

They say to do things you love. I love not working. I’m happier when I’m not working, except for the no money part and I have some right now. And if my unemployment extension comes through I’ll have some tomorrow, but i don’t have to worry about that. This happiness thing works!

Being part of a community is also one of the keys to happiness–that’s easy I’m part of the 99%! Talk about community.

There’s a new movie coming out called simply, “Happy”. The ad is just a picture of a sky with the word happy written in childish script and a big smile under it all written in clouds. It almost seems like a joke in the face of foreclosures, record unemployment, the heartless, morally corrupt 1%, blah blah blah. But since I’m now a happiness seeker I looked into it. Before, in misery mode, I would have taken it as some sort of insult. What kind of inane, trite, nonsense are they trying to feed us now? Maybe if we’re happy, the conspiracy theorist in me says, we’ll start buying more things and we’ll just think everything’s okay.

But apparently the film is not an “opiate”. According to the film, everyone wants to be happy. Some of us expect it, some don’t, but we all want it. For some it’s in tangible things, for others it’s a spiritual journey. The preview tells us that we all can be happy, that it’s a choice. Though it’s difficult to say exactly what the movie is about in one sentence here’s what the director Roko Belic had to say in an interview, “One of my greatest lessons from making the film is that to become happier is a fun process. It’s not like a grueling struggle. To become happy is fun. All you’re trying to do is find those things that make you happy to do them. It’s that simple.”

I hope it’s simple because I’m starting to like it.


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