Everybody, everyone, all of us, humanity; these are all terms we use to refer to the totality of the human race. All people, now, then and to come. But in today’s socio-political environment, that’s about as far as you can go with those terms. You would be hard pressed to apply it to something else, like everybody is liberal, or everybody is pro-choice, or everybody supports President Trump. Try it for yourself. What description can you append on the end of “everybody” that can be said to be true.

Even if you say everybody wants to be rich, or everybody wants to be happy, you can still find a ton of examples of people that really don’t seem to want those things, based on their choices, at least from our perspective. It seems pretty hopeless for our species and the planet if there isn’t at least one thing that everybody can agree on as a desirable goal.

What I am about to say can get tricky, and many people might have a hard time wrapping their brains around it, but I feel it to be true, on a really deep level, so I’m going to run it by you anyway.

EVERYBODY DOES WANT TO BE HAPPY! It’s just that we all have different conceptions of what that would look like for us. It depends in great measure to where and by whom we were raised. The culture, education and life experience we have had. Happiness to me is getting through the next year or two until my retirement, having enough resources to enjoy living in Manhattan with my wife and taking modest vacations together, watching our grandson grow up, and getting the Child Victims Act passed in NY State. That might not do it for a lot of people. Other people have other ideas of what happiness would look like to them.

Let me suggest that happiness is basically the same thing for everybody, if we can look beyond the personal specifics.