Why Don’t People Ever Ask if You Are Happy?

I would rather know what gives a person joy

Jason Weiland
4 min readJun 20, 2022
Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

“Everyone you meet always asks if you have a career, are married, or own a house as if life was some kind of grocery list. But no one ever asks you if you are happy.” — Heath Ledger

Many people still thank happiness comes from what you have. They think if you have a big house and fancy car you are somehow happier than the next person. Some people equate a high-paying career with being fulfilled. Some even think they will turn their life around if they can just get married and have kids.

Why do people think you can only be happy if you are rich? I’ll admit I think it would be easier to be contented if you had enough money. I mean, not having to work your life away — couldn’t that time be spent looking for the meaning of life?

But I didn’t wait until I was rich to find my source of joy. I didn’t wait until I had a house or a great career. And even though I am married with kids, I didn’t do it because I thought it would get me closer to contentment.

Even though I struggle every day, I feel like, deep inside, I am happy. I wake every day not knowing if I am going to be depressed, or if the voices are going to be bad all day. I never know when anxiety will strike and if I will end up debilitated back in bed.

The thing is I always wake up expecting the best.

This morning was tough because I woke up in a bad way. I was depressed and anxious and I didn’t know how I was going to fix it. But I set about my day trying and that is important. I could have just said “Oh well, today is a wash. I am going back to bed.” But I instead got up and spent time with my family, I spent time writing, one of the things I love to do the most.

Eventually, my mood shifted, and I started feeling much better able to cope. I smiled and laughed with my wife and kids. I forgot about why I was depressed and anxious.

It’s not always that easy — sometimes it takes days or weeks to get out of a mood, but I was lucky. I can smile again. I am happy that I could so quickly turn everything around and get back to enjoying my life again.

The fact that I can enjoy just being with my family, I can laugh, and I feel love every day, gives me more joy than a fancy house or expensive car ever will.

I also enjoy my work. It is difficult to get anything done due to the challenges of life, the needs of my kids, and the daily ins and outs of being an adult, but when I can finally write, and work with my clients, and do work that fulfills me, I feel happy.

I feel joy.

It’s not any one thing that makes brings that bliss. It’s the love from my family and feeling like they need me and want to spend time with me. They love me as much as I love them. It’s not working for hours a day it is doing work I love and feeling like the people I help appreciate me.

It’s being able to pay my bills and take the family out for dinner on occasion. It’s going for a drive, going to the beach, or taking a simple walk around my neighborhood.

It’s eating healthy food and knowing I am doing the things to make sure I won’t have problems with my health again. It’s feeling the breath go in and out of my lungs and knowing I can’t take that for granted because I almost died several times.

I am thankful to be alive and able to give love to the people who love me in return.

Yeah, it would be nice to have a big house. It would be nice to have enough money that I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay my bills. It would be nice to drive a fancy car. Do I need those things to make me happy though?


So maybe when you meet a friend or family member, don’t ask them about their job. Don’t ask them if they are getting married yet. Don’t ask about a house or a car and don’t ask anything superficial.

Maybe instead, ask them if they are happy right now. Ask them about what is giving them joy and ask them if they are content with what they have.

I am willing to bet the answers you get are far more valuable than the ones you would receive if you asked about something shallow.

Maybe the answers you start getting will be the key for you to finding your own version of happiness that doesn’t have anything to do with marriage, job, money, or house.

Just ask and you will see.



Jason Weiland

Personal essays and articles from a guy who never tires of writing about his life - jasonweiland.substack.com