On Happiness As A Comfort Zone...
Happiness is an odd concept. I suppose it can come about as a result of many circumstances but it seems clear that a loose definition would describe it as reaching a mutually agreeable state of affairs, for whatever reason. Happiness is about finding that sweet spot. That's the easy part. Staying in the sweet spot, rather like keeping your balance on a skateboard, can be very tricky. I shan't labour the metaphor any further because it puts a rather frivolous face upon the deepest of human needs.
I was always raised to believe that the ultimate goal in life is happiness. Money, position, power and prosperity are all rather nice luxuries, but the real target should be an inner peace and sense of wellbeing. At a time in my life when the overpowering directive is very much based on very singular ends, I can't help but be drawn to consider the means themselves. A degree and a career seem rather like holy grails which, until recently, seemed very far away on the horizon. But, as Lennon put it, "life is what happens while you're busy making plans."
All these cerebral motives, derived from higher thought, make a lot of sense on paper. We put aside our instinctive ideas of happiness in favour of long term plans because the short term satisfaction gain from those instincts don't add up to much in the long run in our society. I think this may be the root of a lot of unhappiness. We know why we need the routine, the qualifications, the career and the money. We know that long term security matters. But there's still that deep seated desire to live for the moment and the deep satisfaction that only a primitive brain is capable of appreciating.
Such matters have been on my mind very much of late. There's a monkey in my brain and he's not going anywhere. He wants to play when I need to work. He won't sleep when I do. He inteferes with my plans and wrenches the controls from my hands with every oppurtunity he gets. And the trouble is - in the style of a particular green, muscular man - when the monkey takes control... I like it.
But back to original notion of happiness being a sweet spot. Recently, I've been removed from a warm comfort zone and placed into unfamiliar territory. I don't think I even realised how comfortable I was until I was uprooted. And, suddenly, the world was cold and alien and I hadn't a clue where to put myself. My security was compromised and it opened my eyes to some truths I was unprepared to face.
Change can be very stressful, but it's a relentless force of nature that can't be avoided. Sooner or later, you'll have to fight to hang on to your sweet spot. And, sometimes, you will lose. But, then again, it's not about the destination. It's the journey. Life is full of abstract goals that will always dance upon the horizon, forever out of reach.
I don't know if I'll ever get where I'm meant to be going. I don't know if I'm supposed to know. But it's evidently time to pack up and move on to another sweet spot. Like a nomad, in search of a new home, the horizon beckons me.
I'll be sure to let you know what I find when I get there.
[ Entry posted at: Thu Feb 15 00:24:04 2007 | 0 comment(s)... | Cat: Philosophical ]