“Life is hard!” they proclaim.
“Compared to what?” I enquire.
In America especially I notice that people are locked into this sense of entitlement to happiness. Perhaps it is in our DNA since the foundation, a misunderstanding of a government document… “the right to PURSUE happiness”. Had modern lawyers been present this would have had a legal footnote something in the order of:
“Individual results may vary. The opinions expressed in this document are solely that of the authors and do not reflect a guarantee of any kind. Past performance is not indicative of future success….”
It would have been pages of legalese.
Today we know more about how the mind works and I have been fascinated by the subject.
For most of my life, I’ve felt that there was something wrong with me. I wasn’t happy. Certainly, there were moments throughout my life that I can describe as not just happy, but absolutely elated; where I was so full of excitement, awe, and/or gratitude that it felt as though my heart could burst through my chest.
But it wasn’t like this all the time. And wasn’t that what I was supposed to be pursuing? Constant, uninterrupted pleasure.
Fast forward to today: the answer is no. And it’s unhealthy to live in this way.
Content from video on IG about happiness and dopamine.
Dangers of dopamine.
Albert Camus and Sisyphus:
We are trapped in this thinking that bad things won’t happen. We create nonsense to help us cope “these things happen in threes”. No they don’t. They just happen. They happen all the time and trying to put controls around a universe is as useful as trying to capture the wind.
If we want to find peace of mind, we have to give up our illusions of control.
So what if instead of pursuing happiness we tried to be interesting?
An antidote from a Russian philosopher on why it’s impossible to be happy:
At some point, maybe by the 3rd or 4th time you’ve watched the entire series of Friends, or The Office, or Frasier, or one day you calculate how much of your life is dedicated to watching Football on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and let us not forget Monday. Seriously, go do the math.
The average life expectancy is 79.3 years. 76.9 years for men and 81.6 years for women. A decent amount of time, this number doesn’t give us the complete picture.
Here’s how the average employed person spends each day:
7.8 hours sleeping
8.8 hours working
1.8 hours on household activities
1.0 hours eating and drinking
1.2 hours caring for others
1.5 hours on “‘Other
Leaving just 2.6 hours to spend on what we choose to.
Let’s look at these numbers from a slightly different vantage point.
While our life expectancy is 79.3 years, we spend 25.8 years of our life sleeping. Put this way, our life expectancy is now down to 53.5 years.
Considering a few items on this list to be inconveniences—work, household chores, and maybe even eating and drinking. Maybe you dread these commitments or rush through them to get on with your day, but over the course of your life you’ll spend 6.9 years doing chores and chowing down food, and 29.1 years working.
Leaving 17.5 years for us to live how we choose.
So, what do you have left? How much time do you have left and what the hell are you going to do with it?
How many of those days should be spent drunk in a bar and how many nursing hang overs?
How many days of your life do your friends deserve? What about your family? Where will you choose to pay attention to?
One of the more interesting concepts came from Warren Buffet:
(If when you leave here I have you a car… )
A multibillionaire is spending time reflecting on taking care of his body and passes this advice on, of all things he is an expert on. Why? Because this is universal.
The person who dies the richest in the world is still dead.
All the money can’t buy you more time.
You only have so many days left. Maybe you beat the average, but the clock doesn’t stop.
Many people confuse excitement for happiness. Which if we want to be excited all the time… how is this possible? How ever many years are left, can you imagine trying to stay excited all the time? Eventually all the things would become boring too.
I wish to suggest that happiness comes from peacefulness. A calm mind.