You’d think that the question “What makes you happy?” is a simple one. An easy question to answer with a multitude of answers, most of which can’t be judged as right or wrong. Most of the time, there’s an answer at the tip of your tongue. But it’s not easy. Not as easy as one would think.
There are different levels of happiness. Lots of them. The question “what makes you happy?” could be applied at several different layers. What is making me happy right now? What made me happy yesterday or will make me happy in the future? What scale are we talking about here, little tiny things, achievements and events or ongoing items?
When it comes to little tiny things, the question is easy to answer. A favourite song. Reading a book. The sound of bacon being fried. A cold drink on a hot day. Or getting a silly text message from a loved one. There are so many answers. Heck, this is a question even I can answer. You know what makes me happy? The process of making a cheese toasty. A glass of diet cola. Listening to the music from the Void in Warframe on loop. Building cottages in Minecraft. Making an excellent throw in Pokemon Go.
These are all small things though. When you expand the question, I find it harder to answer. Sure, you could say that the greater sum of those small things make me happy. Games, good food and great music. But they too… are somewhat temporary. Brief glimpses of happiness amidst a sea of… well, not happiness.
What makes me happy in the long term? That is the hard one. And I don’t have an answer for it. Most people would say friends and family and loved ones. Or living a good, healthy life. Or achieving goals. Or filling your time with activities that make you happy. You could say that long term happiness is only made up of smaller bits of happiness. Alternatively, small happinesses could lead up to bigger happiness later on.
But is that really long term happiness for me? Sure family makes me happy but family also sometimes fills me with guilt and other negative emotions. Whatever makes me happy also regularly fills me with anything but happiness. Gaming no longer makes me happy. In fact, it regularly stresses me out. Most games do until I understand them. Even my writing no longer makes me happy. It’s a chore more than a joy now. There are times when I am happy with my work but there are times I am frustrated.
Sure, that’s just life. Life can never be 100% happy. There is always good and bad. It’s all just a natural state of things.
So really, what makes me happy? Nothing. Nothing makes me happy. Or at least, nothing makes me happy all the time. It’s a balancing act between what makes me happy and what frustrates me. It’s a very hard balancing act. One that a lot of people struggle with.