Albert Schweitzer said it best, “Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”
But of course he didn’t mean that in it’s purest most literal form. I believe that he meant it figuratively as well. Here’s how I interpret his quote:
Everyone’s got their demons and/or periods of their past that aren’t/weren’t considered “happy” or “good” times for them. If a person is in a solid place now (or even a bad one now for that matter), they could look back on their past (or present) status and say, “damn, I remember when—“ and try to apply their past situation to their present if it fits.
Happiness is good health. Health should be the most important thing in a person’s life, be it physical health or mental heath. Health, above education, financial security, and even family spirituality, should rank. At least it’s at the top of my hierarchy.
If a person has good health (again—physical and mental), they, as individuals, should feel a sense of satisfaction. Someone could say, “I don’t have a job, but I don’t have any diseases. I can breathe and walk with ease. I’ve got all my limbs and I feel fine”. I take this to be a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Not really being selfish but putting things into perspective that, ”above all else, I have my sense of self, and I’m fine with myself”. I think that that is very important.
Happiness is also having a bad memory. Some people have the keenest of memories. This, in my opinion, means that they don’t want to forget that lay off from ’94 or that foreclosure they endured or that horrible divorce they underwent fifteen years before. Some people like to wallow in the negative sense.
I say, “wallow in the negative sense” because I tend to see a lot of things in two different ways at times. For this, I see a positive side of wallowing as well as a negative side. The positive being the lingering of a situation in search of clarity and understanding in order to move on or accept. This wallow, in my opinion, is closely related to that element called, “Closure”. While some people don’t really feel closure is necessary, I am one that believes that it is absolutely necessary, of course depending on the situation in question.
Consequently, the negative sense of wallowing is the unnecessary dragging on of a situation well past its expiration date and then applying said situation to a present situation to see how the two situations “align with each other”. At times, the negative wallower isn’t even in a bad situation in their present; rather, they are just reminiscing and BOOM! They start to drift into the bad days and…depression can set and their once happy lives are, in the blink of an eye, turned upside down. Again.
So, yes, happiness is having a bad memory, in the figurative sense of course. Of course you may never ever EVER forget about that devastating divorce or that sudden lay off or if you’re on Wall Street, you’ll undoubtedly NEVER forget about the Bail Out that America is undergoing. It’s inevitable. We’ve all got our demons and not so good times in our lives. No one’s situation is the “exception to the rule”. No one is “special so this rule doesn’t apply to them”.
It’s a simple yet possibly difficult concept to grasp:
Wanna be happy? Try not to remember those bad days. Be grateful for your health, physically, mentally, and otherwise, and gain a sense of amnesia towards the negatives.