I’m sick of long weeks that merge into each other like an endless procession of parades. I’m sick of being in debt. There seems to be no end. Despite being sick of these aspects, I feel happy. I truly feel happier than I’ve ever been before. How can this be? I’m more stressed, tired, and busy than ever before. How can I simultaneously be as happy as I’ve ever been? It makes me wonder: Where does happiness come from?
Something tells me that the clothes you are wearing (or not) could be burned, torn, thrown away, etc. and you’d still be okay. Maybe they’re expensive, priceless, or valuable by some other standard, but you’d probably recover to realize what you still have. But it got me thinking, is there a time when happiness could ever truly disappear? Are you one possession away from sadness?
As I pondered this philosophical question with financial ramifications, I was struck by my own loves. For instance, I love reading. It gives me great joy to sink into a good book and forget about everything else for a little while. Frankly, I wish I had more time to do it. But what would happen if somebody took away my Kindle and I couldn’t read those great books?
Honestly, that would make me sad, but I would be happy because I could use my computer to read. What if that was taken away, lost, stolen? Again, I would be losing something that’s important and aids in the reading process, but I could just read a paper newspaper or magazine. Continue down this path of recognizing alternatives and things that will replace other things; it’s a test of your imagination, but eventually, nothing more can be taken from you. Eventually, all of these possessions, books, tools, etc. could disappear – away forever. This activity that I love could be gone or taken from me. But you know what? I could still be happy. I could write, imagine, and create stories in my mind if I absolutely had to (I’m fortunate I don’t need to, though).
Oftentimes, we put value into vapid pieces of detritus material that only offer temporary satisfaction, consolation, and a brief existence. A new pair of jeans would certainly make me happier, but for how long? By placing and expecting happiness to come from what I own can only lead to dissatisfaction later in life.
Nowadays, I can realize that my happiness comes from within. Without books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, computer, papers, etc. I may be temporarily upset, saddened, or otherwise pissed off, but I can still be happy. Life is too short to worry about what you may lose – or what you must have. Everyone loses everything every time over time. The narrator in the novel, Fight Club, really says it best:
On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.
At the end of these ideas and questions is a hard conclusion: Happiness cannot be linked to the transient things on Earth, and must start from within. Suddenly, those jeans seem a lot less appetizing…
What makes you happy? What makes you happy to take on the day?