I just finished watching the film, ‘The Bucket List’, one of my all time favourite, feel-good movies (if you have not seen it – go watch it now). Not only do I like the entertaining duo of Morgan Freeman the benevolent, wise soul and Jack Nicholson, who has the eagerness of a 5 year old, but I also like the significance of the film. ‘Our quest in life’. I think we all spend our lives on a quest; maybe a quest for meaning, for love, perhaps an esoteric piece of wisdom and for many … the quest for happiness.
There’s a scene in The Bucket List where Nicholson reads the letter Freeman wrote him, where he says, ‘find the joy in your life.’ FIND THE JOY. How do we define joy? Happiness, as I see it, is an emotion, a mood, a feeling, and a dynamic state. It isn’t a destination we miraculously arrive at, it’s about cultivating moments’ of “joy” throughout the journey, and most importantly … happiness is a decision. It’s derived from intrinsic motivation. If we’re continually questioning when we’ll find happiness, and what exactly will create that happiness, then we’re depending on external factors and therefore not being accountable for our own lives.
I remember being taught in history about the Greek philosopher Aristotle who devoted his research to the study of happiness. At the time of being taught about him, honestly, it went in one ear and out the other, but its now I truly get why my history teacher was so passionate about him. Aristotle questioned the meaning of life and the purpose of human existence suggesting that happiness was the fundamental motivator. He related it to virtue and attainment for the greater good, as opposed to individualistic gain and defined virtue as maintaining the median, which sort of relates to what I think happiness is; which is, about maintaining the balance between the physical, emotional, and spiritual. Sufficient rest, exercise and a balanced, healthy diet are essential, as well as discovering a talent, hobby, enrolling in a course or learning to meditate. However, what I was telling my friend when she asked me the question yesterday ‘ what is happiness?’, was this; It’s good to do the above such as going for dinner with friends or doing a hobby but it is even more important that you make sure you engage in activities and with people you feel enhance your life, and contribute to it positively. Whatever you choose to do and whomever you choose to do it with, just remember that everything in life is interconnected, and occurs in duality, there are always seeds of hope in despair and fear at it’s best is inspiration, it is up to us to create the balance!