Most of us have no idea of what to do with our lives. Even after school. We expect our careers to lead us down the road to happiness. Even after we get paychecks. We’ve seen the slick advertisements that promise that money can buy happiness — if we have enough of it. Even after we fall in love. Movies and novels assure us that love and infatuation always lead to happiness.
Growing up can be a painful experience, but not all choose to grow up. Many of us get old and bitter because the absolute truth is that nothing in life is guaranteed. We pin our hopes on elusive, fleeting, and shallow things.
Life hits us alongside the head, and all of the psycho-babble advice we read on social media goes out the window — but usually, after we have plunked down our hard-earned cash and walked away not only poorer but more confused.
The pursuit of happiness may be fleeting, but it’s pleasurable, and it’s something to gird us from war, Covid, inflation, and the other terrors that surround us today. No wonder many of us make pleasure our goal in life. So we take everything we can while we can.
So, what does make a good life? Greek philosophers offered two answers: hedonia and eudaemonia.
We all know the earmarks of a hedonistic life — free from pain and full of pleasure. It leads to a constant need to be entertained and distracted from the unpleasant realities of our situation.
Conversely, a eudaemonic life is virtuous and purposeful, full of meaning. A recent study suggests another component closely related to eudaemonia — psychological richness.
Psychological richness would define a good life as interesting, challenging, and surprising — even if those events weren’t planned. The things that make us psychologically rich can require us to sacrifice and spend time in painful situations.
Often the crack in our protected world that’s created by adversity is just what is needed to let the light in — LaRae Quy
To be clear — happiness is a wonderful emotion that brings a smile and joy to our hearts. It is, however, a fleeting emotion that cannot be sustained for long periods. So instead, choose to live a good life that produces meaning and…