HAPPINESS INTERVIEWS AND ESSAY 1 Views on Happiness Jennifer Kitchen HU300-16 Kaplan University January 29, 2012
HAPPINESS INTERVIEWS AND ESSAY 2 What Happiness Means to Others Dee is a 47 year old married Navajo woman. She is currently staying at the old innwhere I used to reside. I met her working across the street at the used furniture store. I do notknow her well considering I only met her about a month ago and have only had a fewconversations with her. Zowie is my 12 year old daughter. She lives with her father in Texas but visits me a fewtimes a year. In the summer time we get 8 weeks to enjoy our time together. She is a goodstudent and enjoys playing video games and reading manga. Interview with DeeQuestion:How would you define happiness?Response: Grandkids. They make life seem worth all the trouble.Question: Has your definition of happiness changed over time?Response: yes. When I was spending everyday with the grandkids it was special. Then we (herhusband and her) had to move for work and I didn’t get to see them for a while. Now, goingback is a precious moment.Question: What experiences have influenced your definition?Response: Just waking up and breathing. Living lets us see what is around us.Question: Do you expect the definition to change again?
HAPPINESS INTERVIEWS AND ESSAY 3Response: Yes, especially with my health. Health helps happiness. When I am sick I just wantsolitude. But when I go see grandkids I feel better. They make my happiness.(D. Haswood, personal communication, January 29, 2012). Interview with ZowieQuestion: How would you define happiness?Response: I don’t know… When you get to be with the people you love. Not everything has tobe perfect. Happiness is also getting to do what you love to do. Freedom to express yourself.Question: Has your definition of happiness changed over time?Response: No. I think the people in my life are the most important part and when I get to bewith them I am happy. Always been that way.Question: What experiences have influenced your definition?Response: Every time I get to see you. You don’t have a ton of money. They (her dad andstepmother) do. Here I get all kinds of stuff. Stuff doesn’t make you happy. Spending timewith you makes me happy. We have more meaningful time together.Question: Do you expect the definition to change throughout life?Response: No.(Z. O., personal communication, January 29, 2012).
HAPPINESS INTERVIEWS AND ESSAY 4 Understanding Happiness Jennifer Kitchen HU300-16 Kaplan University January 31, 2012
HAPPINESS INTERVIEWS AND ESSAY 5 Happiness Happiness can mean different things to different people. I have known many peoplewho believe that comes from the many pleasures we have in life. Hedonism the term used forthis view and many people may think this way. They may say, “I am happy when I get to go tothe movies” or “I am happy because I got that raise and now I can buy a new car.” Otherpeople believe happiness comes when there is no pain to distract from living. This isEpicureanism. These people may be heard saying, “I will be happy as soon as this headache isgone” or “I am happy now that I no longer have a headache.” The two people I interviewedseen happiness as neither of these. Both Dee and Zowie find happiness in being with those you love. Dee enjoys her timewith her grandkids and Zowie enjoys her time with me, her mother. They both seem to knowthat there are times when pain or loneliness is present but they also know these things willpass.Stoicism is the belief that happiness comes from learning to cope with the pains that areinevitable. It is “how we respond to what happens” (Janaro&Altshuler, 2009).Dee responds toillness by secluding herself but when she visits her grandkids it helps her to feel better (personalcommunication, January 29, 2012). Zowie receives many material objects when she is with herdad but knows that she is happiest when she is with me because of the time we spend together(personal communication, January 29, 2012). They both realize that sometimes we have whatwe want, such as time with loved ones, but other times we must go without them for a while.It is this going without that helps us see the happiness that is there when we have what wedesire.
HAPPINESS INTERVIEWS AND ESSAY 6 I thought that when I sat down to interview these two females I would find adifference in their views, since they are 35 years apart in age. I found that this was not so. Agedoes not mean people cannot have the same view of happiness. The two females had the samethoughts, its time with loved ones. Happiness is not material wealth, ownership, or simply notsuffering, peace. Happiness comes from living and experiencing. When I first started this project I talked to a lot of people about happiness and got a lotof the same answer, “there is no such thing.” I could not believe this. I think it is just difficult toexplain happiness for many people. Seeing what really makes us happy is something thatmakes us really look at ourselves and who we are. Some people would tell me, “It is what youmake it out to be.” I guess this means we all decide what makes us happy. We have freedomto choose happiness and maybe this freedom of choice is what makes many people happy.
HAPPINESS INTERVIEWS AND ESSAY 7ReferenceJanaro, R. P., & Altshuler, T. C. (2009). The Art of Being Human: The humanities as a techniquefor living (Kaplan University 2nd custom ed.). New York: Pearson Education, Inc.