I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books , music, love for one’s neighbor – such is my idea of happiness. And then, on top of all that, you for a mate, and children, perhaps – what more can the heart of a man desire?
~Leo Tolstoy, “Family Happiness”
“Happy,” for instance, once meant “luck.” Not good luck or bad, just luck. Look what we have done to ourselves. We think we can actually pursue happiness.
~Abigail Thomas, “What Comes Next and How to Like It”
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
~Thomas Jefferson, “The Declaration of Independence”
I never knew the origin of happiness.
I never knew that it meant luck.
Although Thomas’ quote can be interpreted as bleak,
I instead read it with hope.
Like we are lucky, if we are happy.
Perhaps it is fulfillment that we are pursuing.
Tolstoy realizes how he can be fulfilled: by being useful.
I love that.
Every day now, I will think of how I can be useful.
In being useful, I will find fulfillment.
And if I’m lucky, in fulfillment, happiness.