The new movie, Hector and the Search for Happiness, is the story of guy who tries to figure out what makes people happy, especially himself. His answer lies in a familiar ending – he marries the girl. But this Denver movie Meet-Up group had other ideas.

Putting on a happy Hector face?

Putting on a happy Hector face? She’s already having fun!

For Deb, happiness is a fleeting emotion, one that “comes and goes. It is joy that is longer lasting, and it’s a matter of choice.” Of course, definitions play a role in how we describe and feel happiness (joy, contentment, etc.). See more on this in “What is happiness anyway,” a previous story that explores happiness and how we describe it.

Joy is doing?

Jim offered some practical ideas. After quickly saying happiness was “power tools,” (did he smile when he said it?) later he added, “it’s exploring nature, and music.”


The joys of nature

This gets us beyond happiness or joy as a state of being – and to the idea of action, of doing. In the movie, Hector explores China, Africa, and Los Angeles looking for the keys to happiness. (He makes a list of what it takes — getting glimpses of others’ happy states.) But the true insight belongs to Christopher Plummer who plays a happiness researcher. He says people should not be concerned with the pursuit of happiness, but rather, “the happiness of pursuit.”

Lisa Marie would seem to agree. She said “happiness is constant action toward your goals and not simply an aversion to pain.” And she added, “it’s something you do for yourself, you can’t expect someone else to make you happy.” (Will there be a Hector sequel that reflects that? Or is the romantic notion of “happiness by other” too ingrained in the movie tradition?)

Rose seemed to be thinking along the same lines as Lisa Marie. She said happiness is “being able to express yourself artistically.” And Deb added happiness is being “mentally engaged, when you lose track of time.”

Being in the moment


Rhea thinking a happy thought

Rhea’s eyes lit up with this and noted the scene in the movie when (in Tibet?) at a monastery high atop a mountain a sudden wind blew prayer flags in a colorful dance and the monks stood among them with joyful faces. For Rhea, this struck a chord. “Happiness can happen anywhere,” she said, “it’s a moment when something takes me by surprise, something beautiful I wouldn’t expect.”

Joy in the moment? Joy in doing? Joy in connection? Join the discussion – Tell us what makes you happy or joyful in the Comment section.


Musings and photos by Bojinka Bishop, Oct. 16, 2104

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