Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Purpose and Passion

Something to do. Something to love. 
Something to hope for.

According to Allan Chalmers,* these are the "grand essentials of happiness."

Um...dude. For real? Howsabout a little cha-ching? Money makes the world go 'round and everybody knows it.

Or...does it?

When you think about your own life and you remember a time that you recall being so happy - why were you so happy? What was going on that made you happy? What were you doing?

The dictionary defines "happy" as:
Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. Having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with a person, arrangement, or situation.
"Happiness" is an industry unto itself. People write books about how to achieve it. You can listen to podcasts and TED talks about it. Read blogs about it. You can study it, dissect it, miss it, wish for it, strive for it.

But what is it?

Different for each of us. A journey, not a destination. A mindset. A decision. A choice. A habit.

Or not.

But when you're happy, you know it.**

And when you're not, you know it.

I've been alive a long time (but not long enough, knock wood), and like everyone else, I've had some crazy ups and downs. Days that were a lot worse than others. And days that were so unimaginably awesome that it almost feels unfair.

I'm going to have more of both before all my days are done.

That, in and of itself - for me - makes me so inexplicably happy.

Before 2008, I chased a lot of dollars. Chasing those dollars consisted of a lot of time in offices. Wearing suits and heels, and often hose. And a lot of hairspray and makeup. Talking with people on phones, via email or other correspondence, in meetings around big and expensive conference tables with lots of windows and mahogany and marble and coffee, or in front of judges or juries. It was very (very) rare that these conversations contained much "happiness." Anger, yes. But not much happiness.

Those times were not happy, but they also weren't sad. Drudgery is, I think, a more apt way to describe it.

These days, I wear a suit and heels with a lot of hairspray and makeup maybe once or twice a month. Dude - that's happiness.

I listen to a LOT of music. Happiness.

I sit or walk in a lot of sunshine (and if the sun isn't shining, it doesn't matter - I'm outdoors). Happiness.

I see and talk to my parents, regularly. Happiness.

I push my daughter in a swing and we talk every day. Glorious happiness.

I read and write what I want to read and write, a lot. Freedom. Joy.

I've got a partner who's the best part of everything going. Everything. And, I mean - e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

And I do all kinds of mundane, necessary things day in and day out. Pay bills, laundry, cook, clean, work, talk to clients, handle research or work issues and try to find solutions. Part of life.

Shit happens.

But, man, so do so many good things, too.


What is it for you?


* This quote, however, can also be attributed to Alexander Chalmers, or Joseph Addison, or Tom Bodett. So much for the internet having all the answers.

** Clap your hands.

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