The pursuit of happiness may well be the one thing that motivates us most throughout our lives. We spend countless hours pursuing that elusive, intangible concept, and all too often we think we have it right in our grasp only to discover it gone. We chase all the tangible things—money, land, cars, jewelry, etc. We struggle to hold on to our youth and beauty via the purchase of plastic surgery and infinite beauty products. Those things make us happy, or so we think. Why does it take us so long to learn what truly makes us happy?
Recently, my son Josh and I had a conversation about a mutual acquaintance, who always seems to be happy and cheerful. He has very little financially, lives in an old, run-down house, doesn’t even own a car, but he searches always for ways to help others.
“How can he be happy with so little?” Josh wondered. “He doesn’t even envy what other people have. I don’t understand at all.”
At that point, we decided that our outlooks are directly related to our happiness.
“I can live with being unhappy,” Josh said, “but I cannot live with being complacent and just accepting whatever life throws at me.”
Throughout the course of my life I’ve learned that things do not necessarily make me happy. Back in the 70s, Larry and I bought our first new car. What a beauty that burgundy Impala was sitting in our driveway. We were elated and looked for reasons to go somewhere, anywhere. The elation didn’t last very long though. First of all, I got severe motion sickness trying to drive it home. The “new-car” smell just about did me in. The next week I drove the car to Waycross to the pediatrician and it broke down on the side of the road with me and our new baby. Larry had to come rescue us. Our happiness was short-lived, to say the least, especially when they took it back to put a new rear end in it. Our first and last brand new car was a major lemon.
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