Over the last three weeks, I have engaged in one conversation with a number of people separated by time and circumstance and thousands of miles. Each one ended with a simple question. I am still crowned “Cruel & Unusual”.
Turmoil comes in many forms. Some of us are conflicted about jobs, relationships, circumstances and just life in general. When the conversation takes a turn toward dour or angry or despondent, I open myself for someone to see a vulnerable side of me.
For all of the things I do know, there is a large portion of things I do not know. When I do not know, I ask. Rather than merely dispense unsolicited (or even solicited) advice, I ask a question.
In our dictionaries, the two have come to be synonyms, yet in the FAB (flesh and blood) world we subscribe very different connotations to them. Happy is a superlative feeling where content is the mediocre substitute of merely being satisfied. Content is being satisfied with good enough.
We describe ourselves as content when we have what we need. Our homes are warm or cool; our bills get paid-ish; our children pass; our Mates are present; our jobs are not lost. We have all the things we wanted in our youth and honestly believed would bring happiness. Still, with all the trappings of comfortable life, we are not happy.
Deep in our souls, we see a hole. No matter what we throw into the hole, it never fills. We stand on its ever-expanding rim with the knowledge one day we, too, will fall into the abyss. We rationalize remaining in place with all our accumulated responsibilities and self-imposed dogma and generational tenets or morals.
Days turn into weeks as we put off our needs and desires in the interest of our children and our jobs and the welfare of our Mates and friends. Before we realize the calendar has changed, our opportunities to fulfill our innermost dreams slip into the hole which has swallowed our youth, physical health and emotional stamina.
We pen thoughtful bucket lists. More than half of the things we put on the list we are either too old or too frail or too smart to attempt. The remaining things are brass rings we can remember the conscious decision not to grasp when they were offered. Those memories fertilize the seeds of resentment and disappointment and unhappiness. No matter what we may have or have done, nothing can replace the genuine feeling of happiness.
The heart is light. The mind is clear. The smile is effortless. The steps are sure. The drive is strong. The confidence is high. The sleep is peaceful. The laughter is genuine. The eyes are open. The wonder is childlike. The fulfillment is orgasmic.
The question requires knowing who you are and what you want out of life. You have to know if you have what you need or have settled for what was comfortable, available or convenient. You have to know if you have sacrificed what makes you happy. You have to know if good enough is really enough to make you happy.
Are you happy or content? Which do you want to be?
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