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The threshold of happiness



This is Baytown Bert in Baytown, Texas and this is Podcast 015

We are taught to believe that the future holds the key to our happiness.  The future is that elusive and beautiful butterfly that is always just out of reach.  We chase it, or not, but it is always flitting about, out there in the hemisphere, the sun reflecting the many colors of its wings in our face and we comfort ourselves with the simple fact that down the road – we will find happiness.

As little kids we have already grasped the idea that when we get into Middle School, things will be better, then it comes along and the bar is raised to the High School goal line.  Becoming a 13 year old teenager came and went and we found it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, because 14 seemed to be the real place we wanted.

The Holy Grail of teendom arrives! 16!  We know when we reach that amazing pinnacle of maturity; we will find freedom in the form of a driver’s license and a shiny new Mustang convertible that daddy buys.  That position on the football team or number one chair in orchestra is good for a season, but you know in your heart that until that big something comes, you just will not experience true happiness.

Your first real romance is magical and you honestly believe you couldn’t be happier – until your cruel life deals you a horrendous blow and you sink into depression and despair feeling that nothing good can bring you back.  Lost loved ones, sickness, bullies, arguments, and friends who turn on you seem to strip you of anything resembling happiness, yet here and there, a kind word, a song on the radio, or an unexpected gift cause your happiness flame to once again flicker.  There’s hope, yes, hope of that evasive entity – happiness.

The Mustang car never materialized and you find yourself working two side jobs to pay your way through community college.  You’ve had enough bad romances that you honestly believe Mr. or Ms. Right do not exist, but you keep trying; just like you do in your classes.  Where is this Utopia you always heard was in your path?  Is this all life has to give?  When can you find Nirvana?

Things begin to accelerate and one day turns into the next, with no real anchor to help you distinguish one day from the next.  You get your Associates degree and are immediately hired on at a place you feel will make you happy, but soon learn they expect you to get your Bachelor’s degree to stay on.  Now you are working 40 to 50 hours a week and attending night classes.  You have no time for romance and the demands of your job and school keep you so occupied, you feel you are unappealing, so why bother?

On the upside, you are steadily advancing in the workplace and getting satisfactory evaluations and you are 26 years old before the first inkling of true happiness enters your consciousness.  “Happiness is a state of mind, not a location.  Happiness is the fulfillment of duties, more than a trip to Six Flags”.  You sit at your desk at the end of the day and decide what will really make you happy at this very moment is knowing that you just turned in a project you can be proud of and in about 30 minutes, you are going to enjoy a delicious salad and maybe a glass of wine, or sweet tea with real sugar.

When you get to your apartment, you are going to bathe and watch that new series you’ve become addicted to and yes, you will shut off your Smartphone and enjoy a quiet evening babying yourself because you deserve it.  It’s the end of a grueling 60 hour week, you’ve pumped out more than your share of quality work and you slide into the seat of the Mustang you recently bought and head for the house. 
You suddenly realize you are happy.

You have reached a place most people never attain.  They keep chasing the elusive butterfly of happiness, not realizing they’ve stood on the threshold all their life.  It was there all along, all they had to do was see it.  The sweet-smelling rose has always been there, awaiting your sniff, but you couldn’t see it due to your far-sightedness and the paradigm you learned by those around you.

No one or nothing can make you happy.  Happiness is a state of mind and living in that moment is the goal.  It’s your assignment at birth and there are no CliffsNotes or shortcuts.  Slow down, look around, and start living your life with purpose.  Only then my friends will you find the happiness that eludes you.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Rebecca Cabaniss: Very nice
Anonymous said…
Tammy Reneau Tallant: Well said BB!
Anonymous said…
Dandy Don Cunningham: What a great article in the Baytown Sun today, my brother. You do such a wonderful job.
Anonymous said…
That was very true & thought provoking Bert.....Debi
Anonymous said…
Sandi White: You nailed it to the wall, it will be there forever. My lungs are breathing, I'm happy. My legs work, I'm happy. I may not have attained all I ever dreamed of but so what, I'm happy. Kudos to you my friend for articulating what anyone over 25 should know as common sense but seldom realize until much later. Life IS good, everything else is gravy.
Anonymous said…
Bryan White: I love the article you wrote, that was in today's paper Mr. Baytown Bert
Anonymous said…
Carla Young: You wrote that so well. It seemed my whole life I was saying - when I get to be 10 then I will be happy. - when I get to be 16 and I get to drive my car to school I will be happy, - when I graduated from high school - I will be an adult and I won't have to follow my parents rules - then I will be happy - now I have to get a job? Then you realize everything has been handed to you on a silver platter and you were not even aware. Your whole life so far was - I will be happy when I am an adult and can do what I want. Then when you are one - all you want is to be a kid again to escape from the stress of adult responsibilities like - raising a child. Be happy today. Today is all we have and some no longer have that.
Thanks for sharing a very inspiring post! A lot of people seek for happiness only to fail once they assess that they don't really have enough of what they have expected. I guess contentment plays a key role to be happy. Appreciating what you have is a step to happiness!

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