Joy vs. happiness

In his book Aging Well, Dr. George Vaillant tells about a visit with George Emerson.

“I could only sit back and marvel at this 76-year-old man,” Dr. Valliant writes. “Despite severe asthma, devastating leukemia and hands so arthritic that he could no longer write, Emerson had been out sailing competitively for a state trophy he nearly won….

“Emerson knew more about joy than happiness. In old age such a capacity becomes a valuable talent. When you are racked with arthritic pain and dying of leukemia, it is hard to be happy all the time—but joy, wonder, curiosity and humor remain.”

Valliant’s advice? “Play, create, learn new things and, most especially, make new friends. Do that and getting out of bed in the morning will seem a joy.”

That’s good advice whether you’re 76 or 36.

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One Response to “Joy vs. happiness”

  1. Mary Hunter June 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Interesting quote and that’s interesting how he distinguishes between joy and happiness.