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The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

Lake Views

The award winning student newspaper of Lake Oswego High School

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How can we find happiness?

Ansley’s Afterthoughts

Our world sucks. No, I’m not trying to sound like one of those woke highschoolers that live by the “everything sucks so why should I do anything” mentality, but truly, our world sucks, and has sucked for a really long time. In the PreCambrian era of the world, sure, there were some cute little jellyfish roaming around and the occasional worm or two, but there were also volcanoes exploding every two seconds. That sucks. The Paleozoic era, we saw some more animals like fish with legs, some birds, and oceans, but 95 percent of the world’s species were wiped out with mass extinction after mass extinction. So much for those fish growing legs, huh. Then we’ve got the mesozoic era. Dinosaurs! Pangea separating! 80 percent of species dying out from yet another mass extinction! That brings us to today, the Cenozoic era. It has been a journey from 66 million years ago to today. We’ve got the Ice Age, Black Plague, Industrial Revolution, children being given Ipads and Roblox, questionable Twitch streamers, the list goes on and on. So, in a world where things are constantly changing, how do we take a break and find happiness? 

Happiness is one of the most subjective things out there. It looks different for everyone, and the meaning is constantly changing. For me, it’s swiping mindlessly on Candy Crush until I get a divine combo. Three years ago I would argue that happiness is watching anime in my room for hours on end while waving my arm in front of the computer monitor to pretend that I really was participating in zoom PE jumping jack warm ups. Because society is always changing, it is hard to say what will make me happy. How do I know that tomorrow, Candy Crush won’t be something that I find repulsive? I don’t. That’s why the pursuit for happiness in every aspect of our life is so important. We can’t rely on one source of happiness because we are constantly changing and evolving. What might make you happy today, might make you feel disgusted tomorrow. 

A big red flag that I’ve noticed is our tendency to put the tag of happiness on everything that makes us succeed. Good grades make me happy. Why? Because I’ve succeeded when I see the letter A in the gradebook. Having lots of money makes me happy. Why? Because now I can have a “sick, eight-car garage” and live in a mansion, which is a sign of success. When we don’t succeed, we often feel like it’s the worst thing in the entire world , and it definitely doesn’t make us happy. Think back to when you were 8 years old. Do you remember any of the times you’ve failed? Most likely not. We care so much about the negativity we face yet it’s hard to remember even a week later what made us upset. Our expectations for happiness are far too large for us to actually expect to meet it. In a world that sucks as much as ours, how many successions are we going to have? I hate to break it to you, but hardly any. That definitely doesn’t mean that we should be stopping the pursuit of happiness. Our view on happiness just needs to change a little bit to be more oriented towards the feeling, rather than the action. 

Another thing that needs to change in our outlook on happiness is instead of waiting for happiness, we should outwardly seek it. Some people say the happiest things are things that unexpectedly happen, and while that’s true to some extent, that doesn’t mean you have to stay stationary in your life until that moment happens. Seek happiness in the moments that you can. The one thing that you do need to be careful of is toxic positivity. There may be some really crappy moments in your life where you’re just like “how can anything good possibly come out of this situation” and that is 100 percent alright. Don’t expect, or force yourself to be happy if your house is on fire, you’ve lost your favorite stuffed animal, or if you crashed your car.  At the same time, don’t let a few crappy days, or a few long moments of unhappiness keep you from trying to search for happiness. The famous Babe Ruth once said, “don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game” and while he was an incredibly famous baseball player, this applies to so many things, especially the pursuit of happiness. What I’m saying is don’t let the fear of unhappiness keep you from searching for happiness even in the tiniest of moments when it feels necessary.  

Our world sucks. Yes, that’s very true. But, our world is made up of so many flaws, it wouldn’t be our world without unhappiness. It’s unfortunately an inevitable aspect of life, but things feel so much more real when we admit to ourselves that some moments in life absolutely suck. None of us would be the people we are today if we didn’t go through hardships and low points in our lives. Thank the things that have broken you down, and realize that you are so much more of an interesting person with the things that you’ve had to fight through. Continue to find happiness, and live looking forward to life each day.

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