Lennon on Happiness

That John Lennon quote to the left is famous, but I’m on the teacher’s side.  I think a goal to “be happy” is like a goal to be “well-fed.”  It’s a goal, true, but it’s unattainable without action, so how are you going to get there?  And “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is a perfectly good action goal, although a dumb question to ask children; that’s a question to ask adults, most of whom haven’t completely grown up (aka dropped dead) yet.  (Also, he really did not understand the question.)

Sometimes happiness just happens–the sun breaks suddenly through the clouds and stops us in our tracks with the beauty of the world, somebody we love laughs in joy and delight, we’re transfixed by a moment of absolute peace–but more often, happiness comes about because of something we did, something we made, something we caused to happen.  What I’m saying is that “I want to be happy when I grow up” is the equivalent of “I don’t want to be poked in the eye with a sharp stick when I grow up.”  EVERYBODY wants to be happy.  How are you going to get there?

So what did you do to be happy this week?  And as long as we’re talking, what do you want to be when you grow up?

(Also, my mother is 92 today.  Happy birthday, Jo, and thanks for those tough-as-an-old-boot genes!)