Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Searching happiness.

If we would ask people how happy they are, we will get real answers that are valid, they're not perfect but they're valid and they predict all sorts of real things in their lives. A conversation with a friend the other night make me ponder. He said, there is a difference between living happily and just living. He is in the latter.

Each of us seems to have a happiness set point, a level of happiness to which we tend to return, no matter what our circumstances are.

The old adage that money doesn't buy happiness, still stand true today. Provided our basic needs are met, wealth doesn't have a strong impact on happiness. I think once a certain level of wealth is attained, more money doesn't make a difference. In very poor nations, being richer brings more life satisfaction, but in wealthier nations, even the ridiculously rich are only slightly happier than average.

I noticed though that religious people are happier than those without a faith. It might be because being religious tends to go hand in hand with being part of a social network. Religion also brings a sense of meaning, as well as increased hope for the future.

People who are romantically involved with someone, or those who are married shows to be happier than those who aren't. What's not clear is what causes what. Is romance good for happiness or happiness good for romance? It might just be that happy people are more likely to fall in love or marry.

Married people, me included, cite their children as the biggest source of happiness in their lives. Oh sure, they give us joy and pride, but while we believe we are raising children and providing for them to increase our share of happiness, we are actually doing these things for reasons beyond our ken. We have become notes in a social network that arises and falls by a logic of its own, which is why we continue to work harder, continue to procreate and continue to be surprised when we do not experience all the joy which we so gullibly anticipated.

So what will make one happy? Most of us are searching for something, or sometime in the future when we will finally be happy. We tell ourselves that if we can only get to "that place," then our lives will be perfect. I know the search for happiness is internal and impossible to obtain. But it's up to us to create our own happiness. It's up to us to create a life filled with joy rather than sorrow.

I think we just have to accept that we deserve to be happy. Being happy today means being comfortable where you are in the present, not where you would like to be in the future. It's about being in awe for the opportunity to learn something new each day.

We don't know what our life will bring tomorrow, so we might as well enjoy where we are today.


SidBrechin said...

Sounds like me in a lot of ways Odette and very true. In way more ways than we discussed.

I am not rich but I am from a country so rich most realize they are. I live on a pension but it is larger than most I know working full time. A side effect of being an over achiever all my life. I was at one time Canada's youngest full Lieutenant. It's youngest certified Military Mountain & Glacier climbing instructor. One of the country's to 50 marksmen. Could have been higher but don't like doing nothing but shooting in tournaments.

I have five college diplomas most unrelated to each other. Also rose to the top of my Civilian profession very easily.

However, I am 54, twice divorce and recently added them up and realized that out of those 54 years 28 of them have been spent living completely alone.

Everyone needs someone. I am also strongly religious. ( I respect everyones belief, I will follow my own anyway but will not let someone put down another for what they believe )

I live well within my means. I no longer drive for example. I don't own luxury's ( ok I have some my computer monitor is a 32 inch for example and my computer and electronics are all excellent. However in my defense I am also an electronics tech. In a sense they are tools as well as toys )

I am very picky about who I choose to accept as friends here on the net. ( I met my last wife on the net and in the long run it was a big mistake ) Only means I know warning signs to watch of in future. I would love to remarry and odds are will find her via the net as well.

This is a bigger compliment to Odette than she knows. ( I'm about a million years to old for a lovely young lady like her anyway ) It does say I greatly admire her, manners, charm and personality.


Healer68 said...

One of the lyrics of a song by Sheral Crow say "it's not (about) having what you want...it's liking what you got" This is something that a lot of us know about but very seldom practice.

I myself, always knew that this should be the way to live when there are so many in my own country who have less than me. However, when you're poor you're poor. The majority of people around me on any given day, even now, seem rich compaired to me.

I'm so embarassed to even be in public because I feel like there's a sign on my forehead that says "I'm a loser cause I'm a broke ass man". It's just a feeling, not reality. But, a pretty s**ty feeling, just the same.

I never really gave a damn about being rich. The more money you have, the more of it Uncle Sam wants unless you're as rich as god (Bill Gates, the Bush family, etc).

Don't get me wrong. I don't really care about shelling out a chunk of my money as tax as long as it's fairly paid by those kind of people.

Anyway, all I've ever wanted was to be able to live comfortably, financially independant. So far, it's never happened for me. But, I'm now happier than I've ever been because of a certain someone in my life.

She's all I have to live for besides my kitties who are like my children. Once again, I still don't give a damn about being rich. Just living comfortabley. And, even though my girlfriend is on the other side of the planet and I'm not sure when I can get there, she makes me very comfortable.


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