The more I talk with people, the more I discover that many are dissatisfied with life. Either they don’t like the direction their life is going, or feel their life is directionless. And I think it’s because we sometimes lose track of what’s really important.
We live to get more, and then wonder what to do with it. We work to upgrade to bigger homes and nicer cars, and then struggle to meet payments on a home we’re seldom in because we work all the time.
Yet if wealth, possessions, and success could bring happiness, successful workaholics and the wealthy would be the happiest people in the world! But they are at times the most miserable.
So perhaps we need a total change of perspective…
The good life?
Society pushes success and the good life. And many strive for it all their lives. Only to find in retirement age that they no longer have the health or energy to keep up with it all. And they start downsizing to create a simpler, calmer life. Or perhaps because of overspending, enter their pension years with barely enough to eke by. And lament any money spent on useless, frivolous things.
But the saddest thing of all is how much they often miss along the way. Possibly growing apart as a couple, through lack of time to focus on creating intimacy. Or finding that their children have no time for them, because they now following in their parents’ footsteps. Fewer friends because work, shopping, and the good life took priority over them. And God seems far-off because they failed to cultivate a relationship with him.
Do we need it all?
Society’s norm says we should have it all and do it all.
But everything calls for a trade-off. We can only keep up with so much, and we can only fit so many activities into our day. There will never be enough time, space, or energy for everything. And we don’t really need it all anyway, do we?
We have found that some of our happiest times were also our simplest. Perhaps because fewer distractions helped us see and appreciate the more meaningful things of life. A slow and happy simple life. With plenty of time for the things that really matter: like God, family, friends, and neighbors. Making memories, creating happy times. And just being together.
I remember few gifts from my childhood, but I remember special family times and trips. And even the simplest things like the drive-in theater in our old station wagon. My parents worked a lot. Four kids makes for a lot of work! But they mostly worked at building a full and happy life for our family, and creating happy memories!
A full and happy life
So my idea of a full and happy life? Work for the essentials. Value the things that remain and improve over time. And learn to be content with little.
And that’s why I like the simple fisherman in this video. Because he sailed his own course, toward his own idea of a full and happy life. And because he didn’t spend time chasing a dream which he realized he already held in this hands!
As for me?
I’d say it’s about time for a glass of wine on the patio!
Care to join me? And while you’re at it, watch the following great and eye-opening, 3-minute video. Then tell me whether you agree with the fisherman or the businessman!
Be careful about chasing after “happiness.” You might already hold it in your hands, and are just overlooking it.
[Images are my own.]