What's your hurry?
Remember when being happy was as simple as having fun and playing in the rain with your best friend(s)? Back when our main objective for the day was to finally outrun Timmy Jones from down the street in a relay race, or to capture the most lightning bugs in our ventilated container? Though times like these may have been longer ago to some of us depending upon our age, we were all children then, and no matter how long ago it was we still remember it like it was yesterday. The reason these memories reside in the back of our mind and still remain as fresh and vivid as the day they happened is because at that moment in time, we were truly happy. It was a much simpler time indeed where we were much simpler people, un-phased by the un-necessary pressure we now put on ourselves to acquire the next big thing. Yes times have changed now, and so have we. We no longer cherish the simpler things in life and have instead replaced them with the finer things. To most people in our society today, happiness isn't defined by the people we love and the times we share with them, but rather the cars that we drive and the new iPod Touch that we bought. And as we've changed over the years, so have our feelings about what makes us happy, and that's perfectly okay to a certain point. It's very understandable that freeze tag and an intense game of four square doesn't give us the same amount of joy in our adult lives as it did in our adolescence. But what does? It's as if for years we dated our beloved partner Simple Happiness in a lasting and sustained relationship. And as we grew up, we grew apart and finally parted ways, leaving us to gigolo from one method of happiness to another and never be able to maintain that constant level of happiness that we once enjoyed. I would argue that the best way to regain that relationship between us and the things that make us happy is to remember the simpler times and take time to enjoy the things and the people around us rather than dwell on the things that we desire.
Don't misunderstand me though, just like most people I enjoy the mere scent of money, I love buying the latest and greatest gizmos, and I get really happy dressing myself and my family in name brand clothing. After all, it's human nature that if you see something that you like, you strive to have it, and that drive also serves as a great motivator. Author James B. Twitchell supports this notion in his essay entitled "Needing the Unnecessary" when he writes "...the aspiration of the poor to get at these unnecessary goods has done more than any social program to motivate some of the disenchanted to become enfranchised"(322). What Twitchell means is that these unnecessary luxuries that some of us hold so dear are motivating people on the lowest end of the income spectrum to put themselves in a better position to acquire them. Either by simply getting a job or returning to higher education in order to get a better paying job, the desire for the finer things in life serves as a positive in this situation. But for others closer to the top of the income totem pole, if money could buy their happiness then there wouldn't be any happiness left for anyone else. In our society today, many well to do celebrities like Brittany Murphy and Amy Winehouse fall victim to depression and end their lives through drug overdoses either on purpose or by accident. Not only should that tell us that money doesn't equal happiness overall, but also if we don't figure out what makes us happy, and the best way to achieve and maintain it, that similar outcomes can be in store for us. Author John F. Schumaker leads us to this conclusion in his essay "The Happiness Conspiracy: What Does It Mean to Be Happy in a Modern Consumer Society?" when he writes "For happiness to be mature and heartfelt, it must be shared-whether by those around us or by tomorrow's children. If not, happiness can be downright depressing"(360)....
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