Anybody who ever tried to chase after and catch a cat knows how futile it is to try, especially when the cat doesn’t want to be caught at all. Sure, you can try to bait it with food, with catnip, with laser lights or whatever. But you don’t always have food. You don’t always have catnip. You don’t always have a laser light. You don’t always have whatever.
And just like an elusive cat, happiness always comes with a catch.
Think of it— that time you tried, really tried to be happy. When you were stressed from work. When you were broken hearted. When you had a problem at school or at home. When you’re just confused and don’t know what to do. We wanted to be happy, not this gloomy blob of emotions illegally settling in your soul.
And so we chase after what we think is happiness. Shopping for nice clothes and stuff. Eating something satisfying and tasty. Traveling to beautiful places. Hanging out with friends and family. Happiness in various forms. Happiness in temporary vials of short-term memories. Happiness that’s reachable, achievable, easily available.
And then it’s gone.
Our funds ran out, and so does our happiness. Our friends and family become busy with other priorities. Amazing tourist spots, relaxing hangouts, wonderul places soon gets dull and repetitive.
And that’s the catch.
You see, our world has become too engrossed with the idea of happiness. Study, so you can be happy. Work, so you can be happy. Go to church, so you can be happy. We’ve created an entire culture around it. We’ve even created a religion because of it— worshipping a god of happiness. Because who wants a god of sadness, or anger?
I’m not saying happiness is wrong. Its existence is important. But to start thinking that our entire existence revolves for happiness’ sake— that, I have a problem with. I don’t believe that humans evolved just to gratify a need for happiness. I don’t believe that God designed us to spend our entire lifetimes looking for happiness. And I don’t believe that the entire history of human civilization and its continuing progress should be driven by this relentless slavery to the desire for happiness. Yes, our happiness has become a slave to our sense of satisfaction, a helpless sacrifice to inner gods of self-gratification.
Whether you believe it or not, it is often in our excessive desire for and in our obsessive pursuit of happiness that we lose it. But here’s a catch.
Sometimes it takes a little sadness to find happiness where we never noticed it before. Sometimes it takes some pain to understand the joys of our comfort, the simplicity of the things we often take for granted. Sometimes it takes a long time, precious and irredeemable time, for us to learn what can really bring out a sincere laugh, a natural smile, a sense of purity in our excitement even when the world finds no reason for such, nor any purpose for doing so.
You can’t have all the happiness you want, even if you give it your all. But you can have all the happiness you’ll ever need— the only catch is that they’re not your own happiness at all. Yes, you can choose to be that happiness, when people ran out of means to find it on their own. You can choose to be that happiness, when people ran out of places and people to run to. You can choose to be that happiness, when people are tired from arguing and quarrelling and forcibly coexisting.
There’s always a catch. And rest assured, even if you fail, even if you fall into despair, there will always be someone to catch you, as well.