I stopped at the cleaners on my way home from work to pick up a pair of khaki pants that had an unfortunate run-in with honey a few weeks back. As I stepped through the door, a middle-aged woman named Karen (I’m assuming, anyway) was finishing up berating the lone employee.
It had something to do with starch.
When the door clicked closed behind me, I looked at the employee and smiled a compassionate smile. She sighed deeply and then proceeded to unload on me with not only the story of Karen but the story of customers (shockingly also named Karen) from earlier in the day. I tend to believe the world is a generally unkind place in the best of times and, folks, these ain’t the best of times.
The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day
I’m not a fan of Thomas Jefferson. I’m not a fan of many of the Founding Fathers in general, despite their bravery. I see them as hypocritical idealists who espoused grand ideas about equality (and other lofty aims) while owning and abusing other human beings. I think more people should see them this way, but many of us just accept the narrative we were taught in school without looking deeper at the actual lives of these men.
I’m also annoyed by the random capital letters in their writing, but that’s mOre of a “me” proBLem I should be ADDressing in therapY.
Anyway, I was thinking on my drive to work about the whole “pursuit of happiness” thing. I have been pursuing happiness for a long, long time and found it to be quite elusive. I was cataloging the times in my life when I’ve actually been genuinely, undoubtedly happy, and I realized a thing about happiness: It is born out of scarcity.
Let me explain.
A new song comes out by your favorite band. You freaking love this song. You play it and play it and play it and play it until, well, you don’t really love it as much.
Or you meet a great woman (or guy. As I’ve said before, I don’t care whom you love). She’s amazing. Being near her makes you feel alive. Ya know… happy! So you follow your desires and start spending every minute you possibly can with her. And pretty soon, that spark of happiness you had before is a little less sparky, a little more ho-hum.
Or you love pizza. It brings you comfort. It makes you smile. You leave for college and realize, “Holy crap. I can eat pizza whenever I want.” So every night for the next month, you order a pizza. And because it’s your pizza, you get exactly what you want on it. One day soon, you realize pizza is kind of like grass in a park. It’s just sort of … there.
I don’t think you have to pursue happiness. I think that life will bring it to you in the natural course of events, just as it does flat tires and broken computers and slow checkout lines. Happiness happens if you’re fortunate enough to live an American life. But I do think happiness can be increased by slowing your roll on the things that bring it to you. Create your own scarcity. If you love that song, as hard as it is, listen to it once a day … once a week. If that woman is the bee’s knees, purposefully spend time apart. There’s a reason “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is a truism. And for the love of God, throw in a salad instead of pizza a few nights a week.
Slowly doling out happiness to ourselves is the key to happiness itself. Nothing in great abundance provides lasting happiness. Not a kazillion dollars (though I’d like to test my theory on that one). Not a fabulous new job. Not a new relationship. Happiness always fades. But we can slow that fade through self-denial, through scarcity.
Suck on that, Jefferson.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Shuffling a playlist.
- Passing a Porsche in my Versa.
- A new filter in my Keurig.
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I’ll Drink to That Since my departure from newspapers in 2009, I’ve worked for very conservative not-for-profit organizations. An electric cooperative. A Lutheran benefits provider. A pediatric orthopedic hospital. None ever encouraged me to post photos on our social media of employees drinking during the workday. But that happened to me today following our champagne-tastingContinue reading “Work Drinkin’ – Sept. 3, 2021”
An Impressive K Boy the Younger got shelled on the pitcher’s mound last night. As a former pitcher myself, I know these things sometime happen. No one squared up on any pitch he threw. They just hit it where his guys weren’t. And this should happen to him. He’s playing up an age group andContinue reading “Bringing the Heat – Sept. 2, 2021”
I Parent Like China It pleased me a great deal to share with Boy The Younger this morning that the rules he lives under are similar to those imposed on kids by the Chinese government. Our Communist Owners recently banned whippersnappers younger than 18 from playing online video games on school nights and allow themContinue reading “Me and the Chinese Government – Aug. 31, 2021”
Dying Less I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly a good thing to stop breathing more than 53 times an hour while we’re sleeping, yes? OK, good. There’s at least one thing that isn’t divisive in this country right now. When I had my first sleep study in February, I was notContinue reading “Dying Less is Good — Aug. 30, 2021”
Believing in Myself So here’s the thing: I have amazing intuition. Believe what you want about humans having only five senses. We don’t. We have more. And for me, one of my strongest senses is my gut feelings about what to do and not to do. I’ve had this ability since I was a smallContinue reading “An Emotional Day – Aug. 29, 2021”
Road Show Coming to you live from somewhere in the Ozarks, where I’m hoping not to hear banjos and have some inbred redneck hillbilly make me squeal for him. Wifey-Poo and I are in the middle of a weekend getaway. It has been a long while since we’ve had an extended period of time toContinue reading “Squeal For Me, Piggy – Aug. 28, 2021”
And the Thunder Rolls My desk at my new office faces out to a busy street – Manchester Avenue – and has a floor-to-ceiling window. I’m absolutely loving it. At my previous job, my desk was tucked away in a corner behind a cube. I called it “My Hovel.” It was a good place toContinue reading “Storm Brewing – Aug. 27, 2021”
Namaste, yo I found myself tonight in a state somewhere between awake and asleep, lying on a yoga mat with 40 pounds of sandbags on my shoulders and chest in a dimly lit studio as soft music tinged by rain sounds caressed my ears. I love this state, and I’ve only found it through meditationContinue reading “A State of Bliss – Aug. 24, 2021”
Sell This House Our house hit the market today, which is to say the Great Gods of Google allowed for it to be found by Realtors and anyone else who happens to have a larger-than-average nosy bone. Our Realtor said we could share it with our friends and family. I was trying to think ofContinue reading “House For Sale – Aug. 23, 2021”
Stages of Life Over the years, I’ve found tremendous comfort in the stability of my in-law family, especially with my sisters-in-law and, as time has progressed, their husbands. My own family is pocked by constant drama. It took me a long time to recognize exactly how not-typical my own family is and to realize thatContinue reading “Cheers to No-Drama Family – Aug. 21, 2021”
Wakey Wakey My day started off with a bag-full of my blood being drained, filled with ozone and then dripped back into my while I listened to a cancer patient banter about QAnon insanity as if it were gospel with the nurse in charge of my treatment. How was your morning? So Long, Sonny BoyContinue reading “QAnon Crap – Aug. 19, 2021”
Interesting Things You Say to Your Spouse “Please don’t get killed by anyone using a sharp object. I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life.” This sentence that I said to Wifey-Poo this morning makes sense if you have a spouse who loves murder podcasts and TV shows. My handsContinue reading “Really Bad Movies – Aug. 17, 2021”
Welcome to the World of Real Estate Starting a new job today was a welcome relief from the drudgery of moving. After getting my ass kicked yesterday in the Great Fridge Swap, I welcomed the opportunity to use my brain instead of whatever physical power I might have left. This is the first time I’mContinue reading “Using My Brain — Aug. 16, 2021”
Perspective Matters I don’t know exactly when I learned it or from whom, but I’ve held “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” as a Truth-capital-T for a long, long time. Today I learned it’s a matter of perspective. Yesterday, I bragged about how I have become Mr. Fix-It. Today, the God of Home Improvement (Tim Allen?) smacked me inContinue reading “Lefty-Loosey, My Ass – Aug. 15, 2021”
Begone, Cabinet! There was a time not long ago when I had zero self-confidence with home repair or renovation projects. It seemed as if every time I tried something, I made the situation worse and often a lot worse. This runs counter to my DNA, as my father is constantly tinkering with things and fixingContinue reading “Mr. Fix-It – Aug. 14, 2021”
Moving Is Fun … … when someone else does it. At just before 9 a.m., movers from Two Men and a Truck arrived at our Wentzville house. There were four men. Within three hours, they’d loaded up all the crap we had boxed and the furniture and other assorted LifeJunk we’ve accumulated through the years.Continue reading “Moving Day – Aug. 13, 2021”
He Got the Shot I took Boy the Younger to get his first COVID vaccine today. He’s 12. I consider this the socially responsible thing to do, and, after struggling for months now with Longhaul COVID, I’m really not all that open to hearing the other side of the vaccine debate. I’ve made up myContinue reading “‘You’re Weird Dad’ – Aug. 12, 2021”