Friday 28 November 2014

I’m Happy

A friend posted a wonderful short story about the Dali Lama the other day. At one point in the story, a waitress asked him the “hard” question, what is the secret of life. He responded that the secret of life isn’t hard at all, the secret is happiness. The hard part is how you find happiness.

Like most simple answers that aren’t really simple at all, I have been thinking about this for a day or so. I’m not going to even try to decide if I am happy or not. Like the little engine that could, “I think I am…I think I am…I think I am…”

I remember reading once that we are all exactly who we want to be at this precise moment in time. We have managed to become the person we are by putting ourselves into situations we created to get us right here, right now. All of the arguments that blame others for the direction our lives have taken are just excuses. We are the architects of our lives.

Everyone finds happiness in different ways. Some are happy watching TV all day long. Others can’t be happy unless they are testing the limits of their bodies. I’m happy riding along a highway picking up dribs and drabs of what others might call garbage. There are people in the world that can’t be happy unless they are accumulating enormous wealth. I have a friend whose happiness comes from playing guitar and singing. Another friend just loves to be riding his bike on marathon trips. One loves to cook and has a booth three days a week at a local farmers market and the other days he serves people from his food truck.  

I suppose there are as many ways to be happy as there are people in the world. Perhaps the most curious thing is that for the most part, people just aren’t happy. We spend our days striving for more and get upset when we aren’t successful. The human condition seems to focus on the negative rather than the positive. I don’t know why this is it simply doesn’t make any sense.

When you are doing what you love to do the world seems to become just a little brighter. The brightness dims a little when you can’t make enough money to feed and clothe yourself and your family. Maybe there are so many of us that it is nearly impossible to work at a job that is satisfying and fulfilling. Up until the middle of the last century, the vast majority of people worked in the agricultural industry, either in farming itself or in preparation of agricultural products. I don’t know that people were happier, but when I look back at how the world was when I was little, it does seem that way.

Our expectations are too high I suppose. We all want a good reliable method of transportation, all of the newest electronic toys, lots of pretty clothes and a home that is comfortable and sizable. It isn’t a bad thing to want more than you have, but it should be tempered with acceptance of life the way it is. Can you ask for more than enough food to eat, a roof over your head, an occupation that satisfies you and people who love you?

I obviously don’t know what it takes for everyone else to be happy. I’m happy and that’s a start. 

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