“Life in common among people who love each other is the ideal of happiness.”
— George Sand
So often we look outward for the things that will make us happy. We look to that vacation that we’ve been dreaming about, those designer clothes that will set us apart, the expensive food, cars, and toys that we’re sure will fulfill our perceived need for such things. And don’t get me wrong, I do not, in the slightest, discount the potential pleasure that material objects and experiences can bring. Not at all. In fact, I have a highly cultivated appreciation for quality and aesthetics, in every aspect of life. But it is equally important to realize that such things are not the essence of what truly makes a person happy. It is a cliche, I’m sure, but it is true: material wealth cannot buy happiness, friends, contentment, or love. And, in contrast, when you are with the right people, doing just about anything, even the most mundane of activities, can be the very best of times. Indulging in a meandering conversation on a warm summer afternoon, watching an old movie (or binge-ing on a new TV show) late into the night, going to an art gallery, visiting the beach, or playing a few hands of poker for toothpicks and matches… any of these things can truly constitute the ideal of happiness. So, yes… well done, Ms. Sand. I do believe that you have hit the nail on the head. Whether it is at a five-star hotel in the South of France, or around a second-hand card table in your friend’s garage, it is the sharing of life in common among people who love each other that is, ultimately, the essence of a happy life.