December 18, 2008

The Search For Happiness

You can call this post The Search For Happiness. It is one of those posts in which I find myself thoroughly unsatisfied with the end result. I had 800 words or so written down but I decided that I just didn't like it so I nuked it and started over. This is the result.

As a child I had a lot of different dreams about what I would be when I grew up. Many of them were the typical things that you might here. Professional athlete, Fireman, President, Lawyer, Doctor, Sports writer.

As time passed so did my interest in some of those dreams. I suppose that you could say that my interest in being a pro athlete never did pass, but my ability didn't allow for that particular dream to continue. I'll write more about this in a different post.

My interest in some of those other professions waxed and waned over the years for a variety of reasons. Some of it was due to practical reasons and some of it due to what you could call extenuating circumstances. It is fair to say that part of the personal challenge for myself and a number of my friends is the lack of burning desire to become a (fill in the blank). I'll readily admit to feeling mild jealously to those few people I know who are doing exactly what they love.

I don't want to live to work. I work to live. See I can rattle off all the little cliches. I don't want a job, I want a career. But there is so much truth in those thoughts. Life is very short and I want to enjoy it with passion and with gusto. I want to wake up feeling like I am ready to attack the day. It still happens from time to time, but not with the frequency I want.

If you ask why I can give you a list of reasons and I can give you a rudimentary framework for how I am trying to change the areas that are deficient. But I would be remiss if I didn't try and explore how I got to this place and why.

The simplest answer is that people change. I am just not who I was. Many of the things that used to be important to me are just not all that exciting or interesting to me. Many of the things that I thought that I wanted fall into the category of not necessary.

When the boys and I sit down and discuss this we all agree that life experiences are responsible for creating this change in us. It is a bit unsettling. I have always found big changes to be a bit tough. But I also know that I can't continue along the path I am walking on without making some adjustments.

One of the guys told me that he fears that he won't find a place where he feels truly happy and that right now all he wants is to focus upon being happy in the moment. I understand that. I have always been a bit restless and felt this sort of wanderlust. I have wondered if that is always going to prevent me from really enjoying life. But when I think about it I realize that I have a lot of really good memories and some of them are in the very recent past.

The very recent past. That gives me hope and strength. It is a reminder that I am not looking backwards and saying that the best is behind me. It means that there is no reason why the best is not yet to come.

This search for happiness is a very personal and intimate thing. For me at times it has been a struggle and I suspect that there are going to be some very tough moments ahead. But I have to do as I teach my children.

That means I need to identify the problem and try and determine what the solution is. And as I tell the children it means that before I ask for help I need to determine if I can solve it myself. Too bad it is not as simple as the challenges that they come to me with.

In the not so distant future the kids and I are going to have more discussions about how to deal with a challenge head on. I see too many of the parents of their friends creating future issues by always fixing things for their kids, but that is a separate issue altogether.

What I do know for certain is that if I want my children to succeed on their own quest for happiness I have to give them the tools to do so. One way to do so is to let them learn from their father's experience.

And that is all I have to say about this for now.


One Wink at a Time said...

It freaks me out how every now and then your thoughts and feelings so perfectly mirror my own.

Jack said...

I guess it just shows that these are relatively common thoughts and feelings.

shavuatov said...

Ditto that. Just goes to show that humans round the world ain't so different.

One Wink at a Time said...

Interesting though, that it's common to people of both genders, fairly different age groups and lifestyles. (I'm assuming Los Anglicans and PA "farmers" have different lifestyles *wink*)

Kayls said...

"The world was peopled with minds, whirling faster than any wind, in search of distraction and escape from the predicament of change and the dilemma of life and death-seeking purpose, security, enjoyment, trying to make sense of the mystery. Everyone everywhere lived a confused, bitter search. Reality never matched dreams, happiness was just around the corner - a corner they never turned. And the source of it all was the human mind" - Way of the Peaceful Warrior...god i love this book!

FlutePrayer said...

I guess there is something to be said about having a miserable (abuse and related stuff) couple of decades early in life. My situation has remarkably improved in every way (therapy works!), and I am extremely grateful for my present circumstances. Rather than looking back with regret, I look forward with anticipation. Having said that, I would not wish the experiences I went through on anyone!

Jack said...


We're all pretty similar.


Angelenos and PA farmers- I'd guess that lifestyles are fairly different. :)


Sounds like an interesting book.

Jack said...


It is always good to be excited about looking forward as opposed to back. No one really wants to believe that the best time in their life is over.

Richmond said...

Happiness seems to be elusive and ever changing - for all of us... Good luck on your quest, Jack.

Jack said...

Hi Richmond,

Thanks. Better to try than to never try at all, or so I think.