I was thinking today about happiness. I didn’t hit any traffic on the way to work, the elevator doors opened for me before I even pushed the button, I accomplished what I had been tasked to do in an unbelievably short amount of time and parking did not cost very much. Yet as I drove away one thought pervaded my mind: I feel tired and blah. Seriously? If the reverse had happened I know that I would not have sat in the car thinking “well at least I’m well rested!”
I’m not sure if this is something that is exclusive to Americans but I wonder if we as a people are capable of actually being happy. From the moment we are cognizant of our surroundings we are constantly striving. To be better, to go farther/faster, to earn more, to reach a goal and then set another, to never settle. But in constantly looking forward are we robbing ourselves of the ability to be content? Even the word seems to have a dirty ring to it. “Be content with what you have”. It sounds like accepting defeat, like bowing to your lot in life. Looking at that phrase I envision an old woman in dark clothing with a scarf around her head in a 1930’s bread line. Yet isn’t contentedness what everyone is striving for? What we meditate in an attempt to find? Why is it that we cannot sit still and actually count the blessings that we do have, rather than count the blessings we want to have?