It seems that no matter where we get in life, we’re always chasing something else, something more. We’re constantly trying to answer the question “What will make me happier?”
The person who has no job wishes to have one.
The person who has a job wishes to have a better title, better status.
The person who has reached the top of the pile might ask themselves if “this is as good as it gets” and starts to wonder about creating more meaning.
The person who does meaningful work might wonder if they can get more balance…
And so on.
We start early in life, wanting more. My son, when he was about three loved those little hot-wheel cars. So much so that everybody — from my mother to neighbors — gave one each time they saw him… Then even getting one hot-wheel car wasn’t enough. He figured out that I was purchasing them in big packs at Costco and then handing them out 1 by 1, and he started to negotiate to get an entire pack at one time. After that, the issue turned to how many did he have in relationship to the other kids. His shoulders would slump if he figured he was less-than some kid by measure of the cars. This construct of being “more-than” someone or “less-than” someone based on what or how much you have isn’t limited to kids. Oh, no … adults are big into this game. It explains McMansion houses and Lamborghini sales, amongst many other things.
Of course, for those with little, we want “enough” to be secure. The person who is homeless wishes they had a couch to sleep on. The person bumming a couch overnighter wishes to have a home and so on. But it seems that once we reach “enough”, we never seem to stop. We pursue the tangible things of cars, money, homes, as if “more” is a better model. We pursue status and authority. We pursue more and more.
Does any of this make us any happier? That’s debatable. Because there is always another toy – or, in my case, bigger successes – and the pursuit becomes rather endless.
Happiness is not about the next thing (emphasis on the next and the thing) but on just everything that is, here and now. My “is” includes the people I work with, the community of Yes & Know, friends and family that provide both support and meaning in my life, and a community who inspires me to push forward. I am grateful for that which is.
America is about to celebrate Thanksgiving, a chance to be grateful for many things and that which is. Happy Thanksgiving, to you and yours.