Pursuing happiness, and I did, and still do, is not at all the same as being happy- which I think is fleeting, dependent on circumstances, and a bit bovine.
If the sun is shining, stand in it- yes, yes, yes. Happy times are great, but happy times pass- they have to- because time passes.
The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is lifelong, and it is not goal-centred.
What you are pursuing is meaning- a meaningful life. There’s the hap- the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn’t fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use- that’s going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else’s terms.
The pursuit isn’t all or nothing – it’s all AND nothing. Like all quest stories.
― Jeanette Winterson