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Free «What Happiness Means to Me» Essay Sample

My first interviewee was my 16-year-old son, David. Being my son, I know him very well, such as the factors that determine his level of happiness and those that make him sad among others. David is a young man, who I can describe as jovial because he is smiling most of the times. Currently, he is a student at SophomoreHigh School and looks forward to joining the Air Force the moment he graduates. Since David is young, my second interviewee had to be an old person in order to evaluate how perception on happiness changes with age. Therefore, I chose an elderly person by the name Charles, a friend to my husband. However, I have never had enough time to interact with Charles and hence do not know much about his lifestyle and factors that influence his happiness among others.

Interview with David

Question:         How can you define the term happiness?

Answer:           Happiness means doing whatever you like, especially doing things to have fun.

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Question:         What is the origin of your happiness?

Answer:            My childhood. I enjoyed playing with my little brother, modeling things and riding four wheelers.

Question:          Has your definition of happiness changed with time and if it has, what factors have influenced it?

Answer:            Yes, it has changed with time. When I was younger, there were some things that made me happy, but as I grew older, they no longer excited me.

Question:          Do you think your definition of happiness will change again in the future, and if yes, what will bring the change?

Answer:            Yes, it will definitely change as I grow older. It is due to age.

Question:          What are some of the things you think will make you a happier person in the future?

Answer:            Being successful, starting a happy family and achieving my career goals.

Interview with Charles

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Question:          Define the term happiness.

Answer:            I can define happiness in various ways, but generally, it entails engaging or experiencing things that make one feel good.

Question:          What is the origin of your happiness?

Answer:            From childhood.

Question:          Has your definition of happiness changed with time and if it has, what factors have influenced it?

Answer:            It changed from being just about me to being about my family. Currently, seeing my family being happy makes me a very happy man.

Question:          Do you think your definition of happiness will change again in the future, and if yes, what will bring the change?

Answer:            It will change as I get to see my grandchildren and as I strike over 50 years being married to the woman I love.

 
 
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Question:          What are some of the things that you think will make you a happier person in the future?

Answer:            Getting healthier and living a stress free life especially stress caused by petty things.

Evaluation of the Interviewees’ Perception on Happiness

From the interview, it is clear that the two interviewees’ perception on happiness differ from various angles of perceptions. These two interviewees support the argument by Frey and Alois (2000): happiness can generally be defined as engaging in things that make one feel good or have fun. From the respondents’ answers, it is also clear that the childhood is a common origin of happiness for both the two interviewees. Janaro and Altshuler (2009) follow such standpoint by stating that a person’s happiness starts from the day they are born. Happiness is evident even in infants as they keep on smiling to their mothers and other things surrounding them. Just as exposed in the interview, perception on happiness keeps on changing with time. One of the factors that have been identified to change the perception on happiness is age. As people grow older, they seem to view happiness differently. This is because some factors that made people happy during the childhood days no longer make them happy. The two interviewees are of different ages and hence some of the factors that made them happy differed greatly. David being a young boy is excited by things such as having freedom and having fun. On the other hand, Charles being a married and an aging person seems to have centered his happiness on his family’s happiness. Charles’ happiness is also determined by how satisfied he is with his life. Just as Ehrhardt, Willem and Ruut (2000) argue: ensuring satisfaction with life is a big determinant of level of happiness in many aging people. 

While conducting the interview, it was easy to tell that the young boy was much happier compared to the aging man. Charles had many factors that hindered him from attaining maximum happiness such as daily stress especially from workplace, failure to meet his family demands sometimes, which pains him deeply. However, David seemed to worry less about meeting any needs, owing to the fact all his needs are met by his parents. The only thing that seemed to hinder his happiness is the lack of enough freedom to involve in whatever he likes. Like Lyubomirsky (2001) points out: such factors as level of stress make some people happier than others. Thus, the interview brought to light one important fact. Happiness is determined by other essential factors: such as having a happy family, achieving personal goals and not money as it is assumed by many. This supports the argument by Headey, Ruud and Mark (2004) that money cannot buy happiness. The interview also confirmed that all people no matter their ages aim to achieve maximum  happiness since it is part of being human (Janaro & Altshuler, 2009).

   

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