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To be content or to be happy?

To be content or to be happy—which do you aspire to? Could there even be a (*gasp*) cultural difference?

Way back when I was in high school in the US, our class was discussing life aspirations. I said my ideal was to "be content".

My classmate's reaction: "That sounds so sad, like you're settling for just being OK."

Her perspective was that one should aim to be 'happy'.

It may be that my memories are being written over and this has become a private 'urban legend,' but in today's happiness-obsessed (Western?) world, this exchange still makes me wonder—are we talking about the same thing but just using different words? Maybe it's just semantics...but it's not quite so, at least not for me.
Happiness vs contentment Happiness implies to me an active, euphoric sort of emotion. That uplifting feeling when you see someone you love, gather your child in your arms and feel them hug back, eat something delicious, sink into a comfy couch wi…

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