Why Do People Mistake Fun For Happiness?

Contentment is much maligned concept in today’s consumer world. It seems to have become synonymous with boredom, or stasis, or “settling”. In a hard driving, achievement oriented society everything is oriented to moving forward, to moving up. It is assumed that people who are contented don’t have aspirations because they are perfectly happy with where they are. After all, isn’t discontent the thing that drives people to change their situations?

In our achievement oriented society, happiness is also something to be achieved. It is something you go out and get, not something you allow. Perhaps because when we are young people try to make us happy by giving us stuff. Isn’t happy birthday all about stuff?

It shouldn’t seem odd to us then that so many people equate having fun with being happy. After all, aren’t we happiest when we are having the most fun? That is when our senses are buzzing, when the chemicals sloshing around in our brain have us at a peak state of pleasure. This is the twenty-first century, we deserve to feel that way all the time. Or so the thinking goes.

The times in our life when we aren’t having fun are by that definition not as happy as they could be. And there is only one solution when we don’t have something we think we should have. Go out and get it.

You can’t really go out and get contentment the way you do fun. Contentment comes from surrounding yourself with a life that suits you. It has to do with acceptance. It is a much more passive place of joy. A calmer, quieter, deeper happiness than the momentary endorphin rush that comes from dancing the night away, losing yourself in a party, meeting someone new.

In many ways, the pursuit of fun is a destroyer of happiness. It allows you to miss the good while searching for the better. Fleeting fun doesn’t last. The new excitement eventually palls. Then it’s on to a quest for new fun. It is just another addiction, and we all know where that leads.

Mistaking fun for happiness leads to unhappiness. Comparing your current situation to your fantasy “best life” is a recipe for depression and misery.

Everyone knows someone, probably is someone, who has left a wonderful relationship, or a good job, for a new exciting one. Much of the time the only thing that really leads to is regret.

It is a lesson that most of us like to think that we have learned, but there is at least one more stage of life where it can rear it’s head to catch you by surprise.

So many people are dissatisfied with retirement because it doesn’t live up to their dreams. It’s just not as much fun as it should be. As if they are still young and they didn’t get the present they really wanted.

This is important. When people are asked about retirement the question is whether they are satisfied. No one asks them how much fun they are having.

Fun is being happy in a moment, contentment is being happy with life.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field