Investment research always ends with the phrase: “Past performance is not indicative of future results.” This is to indicate that performance during different time periods is not correlated.
I’ve begun to think about my happiness in a similar light. Just because I was happy in one period does not necessitate that I will be happy in a future period. Just like investing, there is some skill involved in being happy, but performance is also dependent on the state of the economy and aggregate investor sentiment, which we cannot control. We can do certain things to be better at being happy like eating healthy or yoga, but at the end of the day, it is also largely subject to a variety of forces that are hard to control. Just as it’s hard to invest well during a depression, it’s hard to be happy when you are depressed.
I was reflecting on the instances in which I was happy in the past. There aren’t that many, so this train of thought didn’t take long. I remembered that during each of these periods, I thought that my happiness would last forever. When I was happy, I thought that I would be finally free from feeling sad. I thought that my hard work in developing a more positive mindset had paid off, and I would be able to be happy for the rest of my life.
There’s something about happiness that seems to wear off. Happiness can be intense at first, but then happiness also wears off because it’s hard to sustain happiness for prolonged periods of time. I don’t know if there is a neurochemical explanation for this or if I’m just speaking purely out of experience. I suspect that this cycle won’t change. I’ll be sad for the next couple of months. If I’m lucky, then I’ll feel happy next summer. If I’m not, then I’ll still be sad next summer. This just might be the way things are.