What Price Happiness?

Looking for joy in all the wrong places?

By Naomi Wolf
happy box image
Photograph: Photo by Dan Winters.

Should we, rather, consider that there are gifts we have—such as our kids, our parents, our partners—who are often problematic and often imperfect, but whose very challenges to us, whose very demands that we stretch to sustain love and care for them, are gifts to us in themselves? Should we consider that the very burdens of our freedom—our having problems of our own choosing—are gifts as well? Should we see that defining a credit card as perhaps the easiest route to happiness may have hidden costs? Should we outgrow the oppression of the very idea of “perfect”?

Maybe true female contentment is to be found in the journey and even in the journey’s struggles, rather than in some trite fantasy destination that is inherently unreachable anyway. Maybe you find it in spite of, not because of, cultural “happiness” scripts. Especially if, this time around, we are finally willing to ask ourselves the right set of questions.

Naomi Wolf is the best-selling author of The Beauty Myth and The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.

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Originally published in the April 2010 More.

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