Happiness Is a Choice


Cade Campbell, Writer

Let’s admit it. Most of us have complained about not being happy. Some of us think we don’t deserve it so we push it away as if it’s a potential danger to us and harmful in some way. Others have the opposite problem. We think we deserve happiness, but we can’t find it. We search for something we cared so deeply for in the past. Something that made us happy back then. Or we look to the future, imagine us then, start planning to make that dream that makes us happy happen. But here’s the thing. The past and the future… yeah, they don’t exist. 


What happened in the past is only a memory now. Nothing is the same as it was and nothing will be the same as it was. You can’t have exactly the same thing you used to and feel the exact way about it. Time changes many things, feelings, thoughts, ideas, dreams. And with that comes new people, new inventions, new creations. And what happens in the future may not be completely out of our hands, but it is unknown and it is not a stable place to search for or rely on happiness. The way we view life and the way we choose to feel it makes all the difference in whether we are happy or not.


Happiness is a momentary thing. It’s temporary, it won’t last. But it is recurring, and it is possible to live your life genuinely happy. But by doing so we need to focus on things that make us happy at that moment. Not in the past and not in the future. The present, or as I like to call it, the Now, is something special. Something that won’t last forever, but something that happens to us nonetheless. Something that most of us tend to ignore, either because we’re stuck in some unhealthy rumination of the past or because we’re thinking too much about the future and what it could give us and what we want it to give us. But searching for happiness in places such as the past and the future, places that don’t exist, doesn’t bring us any joy at all. Only longing. 


The Now is something that exists. It’s a place, a time, a situation, a moment, the people around you. It’s all of that put together. It’s existing as you read this right now, and it existed the moment before that and it will exist the moment after that. The Now never dies, never ends, never gets old. The Now grows and molds itself over time into what we thought was the future and it has passed through what we thought was the past. The Now is what we need to pay attention to, what we need to focus on because it’s the only time we can truly be knowingly happy. We need to focus on what’s going on at that moment around us. 


Most of us have been in extremely low situations, some of us even as far as calling it depression, and we claim that happiness is very rare to feel and we’re hardly happy. But embracing what’s going on in the present and taking advantage of the time we have now, even if there is a risk of feeling the opposite way in the future, is something crucial for happiness. It ends a lot of those I-should-have-done-that-when-I-had-the-chance thoughts and if it works out (somehow a lot of things typically do), then it provides us with a brighter and more hopeful outlook on life, which can mean all the difference when things go very good or very bad.


I used to be depressed, never thought that true happiness was gonna happen anytime soon, but I was always searching for it, and when I found it pulled me out of that somber state as if someone had finally pulled the stuck anchor of the water and the boat could continue moving.


Let’s talk about terms we’re familiar with. 


We all have that one person we want to talk to, or exclusively talk to on Snapchat or something similar, but we don’t talk to them at school, because we’re scared. We all have that person. A lot of people never talk to that person because they’re intimidated and afraid they won’t want to talk to them in person or embarrassed for some reason, so they don’t ever say anything and it’s just a relationship online or in one’s head. But usually, that same feeling is mutual with them as well. So, view it like this: If you try to talk to them and actually start a bond, they will most likely reciprocate that, and you could potentially have a new best friend, and if they don’t––if they act embarrassed or annoyed––then congratulations. You just removed a bad person out of your life and made it better in the long run.


Life is drastically different by the ways we perceive it. If everything is negative, if we’re stuck on something that has passed or hasn’t even come yet, then, yeah, life is going to be a––excuse my baguette––pretty crappy place. But if we take advantage of what’s going on now, take chances to actually make ourselves happy, and no matter what the outcome find even the smallest bright side, that can completely flip your view on the world, and in the end, your days are better even if nothing particularly made it that way. The way you view the world made it a good day. I’m not saying bad days don’t happen, because they do. I’m saying there can be more good days that aren’t being experienced between you’re not taking advantage of the Now. 


A lot of people view life as the process of dying, suffering for 80 years just to die. I take every chance I get to take advantage of the present to make sure that every moment I spend on this earth I am truly happy and actually alive.