Guest Post by Austin.
I am a child of the nineties. I grew up during the “grunge” era and have plenty of plaid shirts and baggy shorts to prove it. I am now 29 with a stable career, a loving girlfriend, and a handful of people that I would consider close friends. I am happy. More than that, I have a deeper joy that cannot be attributed to any single thing. So what’s the difference between happiness and joy? And how does one attain either? What brings me happiness and what fills me with joy? Ask ten people and you’ll get ten different answers. My answer quotes one of my favorite bands from the nineties, Our Lady Peace. “Happiness… is not a fish that you can catch.”
The first thing about happiness that must be understood is that it relates to, and is affected by circumstances. What makes me happy? For me, it’s the simple things. A warm day spent resting on the patio furniture, Skyping with my girlfriend makes me happy. She lives over 3,000 miles away. Skyping online is our main means of communication. Every time I log on and see her beautiful smiling face I am filled with happiness. The worries and stress of the week melt away as we chat about our lives and laugh about things that seemed so serious only days before. It’s relationship at its deepest level: communication. Happiness is knowing that I can face anything because I have someone in my life who will face it with me and support me through respect and love. It can be hard to find, but more than worth the pursuit.
I love to play music. I’ve been playing guitar for over 17 years with varying degrees of success. I know myself well enough to notice that I need a creative outlet. That outlet can be as simple as writing a simple love song, or as dramatic as playing live on a Saturday night. Whatever the case may be, when I’m holding a guitar I am overcome with a feeling of worth. I won’t compare it to the loving embrace of my girlfriend, but there is a mutual respect between the guitar and myself. I know that if I treat her right (my guitar that is) she will sing for me; and when I have learned to treat her the way she deserves to be treated her song is gorgeous. That is happiness. The connection made between wood and skin and the vibration of a sustaining chord all reverberate happiness through my body. Whether I’m playing in front of 80 people in a club or just the 3 posters in my bedroom the feeling is the same; happiness… contentment.
I do believe joy is harder to attain than happiness. Joy is happiness on a deeper level. It is happiness reincarnated, if you will. Although joy can be harder to find, it is not swayed by circumstances or situations. People may argue, but my joy comes from somewhere else, something else, someone else other than myself. Some may find it in religion or inner peace. I find my joy in my Savior. I believe that is the key to finding joy. Because my joy comes from outside of myself it is not swayed by changes in situations. It is constant and I can always rely on the joy I have deep within me. I choose joy over sorrow, I choose love over hate, and I choose life over death.
Austin is an avid blogger and loves to travel. He spends most of his time writing and playing music. More of his writing can be found at www.