Seaside Happiness Defined


Originally appeared in the Sun by the Sea newspaper

online at

“If we cannot live so as to be happy, let us at least live so as to deserve it,” so said philosopher Immanuel Hermann Fichte. But what is this thing called happy? Are special tools required? For instance, is it only possible to be happy when surrounded by salt air and soft sand? If that were true, then the path to eternal bliss must be lit by a sun-drenched sky. That being said, can one be happy when SPF 30 deficient?
Determined to get to the root of this much sought after, yet elusive quality required some assistance (do you Yahoo or Google, being an equal-opportunity happiness seeker?) Turns out, there are approximately 93,000,000 schools of thought on this upbeat topic.
What did we do before the Internet? Presumably, people walked around thinking they were happy without having all of the facts. When taking this online journey in search of the cheerful facts, one inevitably encounters such categories as The Path to Happiness as well as The Top Five Ways to Find Happiness (which strangely do not include beach buckets or boardwalk strolls). Words such as self-fulfillment and self-actualization reside within the tour of euphoria. Clearly college educated, not to mention delirious, people have given this subject a great deal of thought. Apparently, no mere mortal can pass the happiness litmus test without consulting with the Internet guys, who seem to agree that in order to be happy, it is important for everyone to be all that they can be (they’ve done some borrowing from the army). Sunblock and sunglasses are not a requirement. However, further research (conducted off-line) does show that time spent at the shore can do just as much to up the happiness quota. After all, quality time spent by the sea is one way to live up to our potential. Perhaps writer James Oppenheim said it best, “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.”
May each of your footprints be indelibly marked in sand during this happiest of seasons.


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