I celebrated my fortieth birthday with my family in Door County today. I am resisting the temptation to scribe something particularly moving or insightful about this event. I might attempt to develop a full rhetoric in defense of eudaimonia. However, Aristotle has already expertly articulated the ethics of a life in pursuit of happiness. I won’t expand upon his treatment except to comment on the soundness of his guidance and remark on my renewed agreement with the path. Aristotle argues for a definition of happiness as active virtue in concert with reason: living and doing well. Happiness is not a passive state; it is an active pursuit. A goal to strive for, rather than a reward to passively receive. This approach is the correct one. And this approach results in a life of choice continually made.
In a related but perhaps more culturally relevant reference to this choice — or at least a reference to a piece of work from this decade and not two millennium ago — I’ve had the song “Times Like These” by the Foo Fighters in my mind over the last several days. This stanza, a reference to the Hüsker Dü album New Day Rising, particularly resonates with me on this day.
I am a new day rising.
I’m a brand new sky
To hang the stars upon tonight.