True happiness isn't a destination. It is a state of mind.
Being truly happy, at your core, doesn't come from buying a new car or even accomplishing a long-held goal. It doesn't come from winning the lottery or even overcoming a disease.
In fact, it is even safe to say that when you are truly happy, all of those things can just happen, as if by magic with no hard effort on your part.
Yes, new cars and houses, accomplishing goals, going on vacations... all of those things can create happiness. But, as human nature always proves, they only create happiness for a short amount of time before you want something else. Something better. There is nothing wrong with that! We should always strive for more because that's what life is - living! But those things will not create lasting, true happiness.
True happiness comes from the present moment. I can come in good times and in bad times. It can come in peace or chaos.
True happiness is when we can enjoy the present, no matter what is happening in our lives, and relish in the beauty of life. It is a time of magic and love. And the wonderful thing about this is we can choose to feel it at any time.
How? By stripping away the chatter in our heads and being swept away by the magnificence of life itself. It doesn't need to happen through meditation. But when you are present in the moment, a meditative state takes over. It isn't something you need to do, but rather something that happens by being.
If this is true, why do I stress choosing happiness? Why is it the center of focus for everything that I personally do? Because when we choose things that make us happy and make an effort to bring happiness into our lives, attaining this present state of true happiness is so much easier. Choosing happiness puts us so much closer to true happiness.
When I was in basic training, there was a woman who was one year younger than the cut-off age to enter the Army. She stayed to herself and didn't really talk with the other girls. Every day, we would see her "being crazy," staring off at the sunset. I wish I had talked with her to gain some of her wisdom at my young age. Looking back, I am sure she was simply capturing the present moment, so the intensity of basic training was more bearable for her.
That's what true happiness is all about - living in the moment. It would be great to live in that space all the time, but there are only a tiny fraction of people who have that ability. But the more time we spend in that space of true happiness - thoroughly enjoying the present moment, the easier it will come next time.
The more we choose happiness on a daily basis, the easier it will be to find ourselves in the present moment. The moment where true happiness lives.