November 2002
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Happiness – Is Not A Toy That Can Be Bought
By Kaela S., 15, Delta Secondary School, Delta, BC

Has anyone ever told you: "Be grateful! There are people out there right now who are starving!"

I hear it all the time. I am continually being told about people from far away countries that I cannot pronounce, have never heard of and will most likely never visit in my life. They all seem to be starving, fading away from lack of food or water. However, I look around me today and I can also see people starving, just sitting in their empty lives, eating and drinking, yet starving. People that we might consider "normal" are starving for reason. They are starving for something to fill their lives with meaning and happiness.

No one wants to feel empty or unhappy; therefore, we are always looking for something to take away that feeling, to satisfy that longing. Money is commonly used to substitute for happiness and people tend to mistake it with happiness or equate one with the other. Because of this, people are always wanting more, buying more in an attempt to feel happy. The thing is that no matter how much people buy or have, material things won't make them truly happy. It's not having what you want, but wanting what you have. To be happy, I believe that first we have to be content with being ourselves as well as satisfied with what we are doing with our lives. People need to love, respect, and believe in themselves before they can expect to be happy.

Another thing people are always looking for is acceptance from those around them. I don't like the way some are constantly judging others by the way they look or by their differences. For instance, most public high schools are filled with kids putting others down to make them feel better about themselves. We want to be accepted and by putting those around us down, we feel like we are better. We are all insecure in one way or another and because of this we need positive attention. Deep down, we all care about what others think of us and we all want to be accepted.

"The value of life lies not in the length of the days but in the use we make of them. A man may live long and yet very little."
         - Michel de Montaigne

I like this quote because it's just so true about life. A man can live a long life and yet never experience happiness. It is how one lives their life that truly matters. Life is only what you make it.


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