Friday, November 04, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

The subject of happiness has come up quite a bit in my life lately.  It seems everywhere I turn I find someone looking for it or showing an expression of it.  It's had me really asking myself, "Am I happy?"

Immediately the answer "Yes!" flashed through my mind, but then right behind it came this slow, uncertain question of "Really?".  It surprised me.  Only two seconds before I had been so sure and now I sat there wondering why I was questioning myself.  (Don't try to figure that out - you'll get a headache.)

I pondered.  If I was so happy what exactly was it that made me that way?  After several days of fleeting thoughts, a long hot bubble-bath, and nice warm cup of coffee I realized that my happiness can't be contributed to just ONE thing.  It's a compilation of many different things. Not all of them would be OBVIOUS things.  Simple things.

Here are few examples:

My cat Pip.  She's often a pain, getting into things she's  not supposed to, tearing up furniture with her claws, leaving her toys just laying around everywhere so you step on them in the dark type of stuff. I'm not even going to mention having to clean out the litter box.  It's also those very same things that make me happy.  She's a happy cat.  She's loving, she's not afraid of anything, she's spoiled, and she LOVES attention.  She's free because she's loved.  She's not afraid of her family.  She's not hungry or hurt.  She doesn't have a diamond collar and eat gormet cat food, but she's happy - and she makes me and the rest of the family happy.

My son Johnathan.  (BTW - these are in random order.  In no way do I imply that Pip is more important than Johnathan.)  My son is a bit on the lazy side and his drive for success is lack luster at best. I could focus on all his faults and constantly stay behind him and pressure him to move forward, but instead I've chosen another route.  My son in happy.  He's lazy because he loves being at home and he's comfortable there enough to let himself be who he really is.  He loves playing games with his family at dinner time, he loves fighting over pop corn, or trying to beat everyone on the video, card and board games.  He's a poor sport and horrible loser, but he loves playing.  He's 21 years old and would rather spend his weekends at home with his dad watching football or sitting at the kitchen table after work writing his first novel with me while I cook dinner.  He doesn't drive around in an expensive car, go to a fancy college or wear designer labels, but he's happy. He dates on occasion, but he's not out looking for someone in order to make feel complete or loved.  He loves his music and playing his drums.  He's learning to love himself.  

Everyday we live with goals and aspirations, reaching out to obtain those things we dream about.  But, I've learned that it's not in the achievement of those dreams that makes life worth living; the thing that makes us happy.  Those moments are just that... fleeting moments.  They're a great moment of exhilaration.  But if we live our life in a struggle everyday under oppression, stress and pressure in the pursuit of happiness - we'll miss the moments that truly grant them to us. 

I've got a lot of big dreams in front of me and I'm doing everything I can to reach those dreams.  In the meantime, I walk through my days with a song in my heart because I'm truly content and happy right where I am - right in the middle of my mess.  In fact - it's that happiness that fuels the energy I need in the pursuit of my dreams.  If I wasn't loved or love my self - I wouldn't make it through all of life's bumps, road blocks and sink holes. 

I thank my family for that.  I thank God.  I thank my friends. 

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray