The other day I overheard a young woman loudly state, while involved in a heated conversation with what I can assume was her mother, that she deserves to be happy. She followed it up by emphatically stating that it is her “Constitutional right” to be so. I wanted to jump in so badly and offer that the pursuit of happiness is mentioned only in the Declaration of Independence and nowhere mentioned in the Constitution, that the only promise implied was the pursuit, and that it was only meant as an assurance from a young Country that it was committed to freedom for all individuals, without persecution, to pursue God-given (inalienable) rights, one of them being happy, which in and of itself cannot be guaranteed.
But common sense and experience prevailed. I inferred her age and concluded that not only would I not make any kind of meaningful impact on the conversation, but also that it is not entirely her fault. She was a twenty-something, a member of a generation that has been raised on validated feelings, cancel culture, banned history, and soft truths delivered in a manner as not to offend delicate sensitivities. I kept to myself, knowing that while I meant well, I would probably come across as an old fart dishing out unsolicited opinions. I could see how the conversation would go. I could even see the ending, the introduction of the concept of fairness.
This is where my concerns for today’s generation lie; the expectation or assumption that life is fair. In the great quest for equity on all fronts, somebody made the bold assumption that all things, including happiness, would be evenly distributed. They want life to be fair.
Newsflash: LIFE.IS.NOT.FAIR. Don’t expect it to be and you will never be disappointed.
I have had a hard life. Many challenges have risen to meet me on the road of life, and I have had my share of hardship. My life has been a struggle to say the very least. But that does not mean I haven’t experienced happiness. I have had many moments that I can recall, and they are etched in my brain. But they were brief and fleeting. In between those moments was everything else that I, and countless other people have to do every day.
Such as dealing with people and things that I did not want to but had to.
Working jobs that I hated because people depended on me and there was no plan B if I lost my job.
Biting my tongue and not punching the fucking shit out of somebody because I either worked for or with them, or I feared going to jail.
Facing the truth even when it was painful.
Allowing my children to feel hurt and sad because I knew that by fixing their problems for them, they wouldn’t learn anything.
I’ve had heartache, illness, financial problems, and relationship issues. There are so many examples, but I’ve made my point. I and countless others have survived all of those things and so much more and didn’t develop a victim mentality or lament the lack of fairness. If you get how life works, you do it because that is what life is: survival. Getting through all the crap in order to enjoy something, anything, that makes you smile…that’s happiness.
Chase it, create a healthy definition, and appreciate it when you have it. Know that you are not entitled to it. And don’t expect to be happy. Because life is not fair.