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Be Happy - Duh!


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© April 2009 Anthony Lawrence

I was in my fifties when I first realized that there was something important I wanted to say. It was something I'd learned about life and I wanted to make sure my children knew it so that they wouldn't have to learn it for themselves. It was something I wanted to pass on to every young person so that they would know it too. I felt a strong desire to share my knowledge with the world.

The only problem was that I didn't know what that knowledge was.

I know that sounds odd, but there it was. I could feel the need, the words were on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn't find them. I was aphasic on this subject.

The nagging desire to communicate stayed with me. I rationalized that it was just an internal desire for immortality, that I wanted to be remembered, that there was really nothing there but that vague ache. But it stayed with me.

Today I happened to make a comment at The Deep Friar's How to be a Nouveau-Riche Yuppie. I said:


From the ancient age of 61, having seen a lot of happy and unhappy people in my life, my opinion is this:

Moving toward goals makes you happy. Attaining goals makes you happy for a while, but then you need something new to work for.

Goals can't be too easy or too hard. The perfect amount of work needed varies by individual, but there needs to be at least some effort.

The accumulation of money can be a goal, but it's usually not satisfying. You'll be happier with other things: learning a language, climbing a mountain, building something..

I've said this so many times: at the end, what matters is how happy you were. How much money you had is unlikely to be something you care about as you lie on your deathbed. How much you laughed, how much you made your friends laugh, how much you loved, how much fun you had: those are the things that will matter to you.

I was fortunate to understand that very early in my life. Some people never understand it at all.

As I pressed "Submit", I suddenly realized that this was it. This was exactly what I wanted to say, what I wanted to pass on to my children and everyone else. Nothing all that profound, and plenty of other people have certainly said it before and said it better, but there it is. That's what I wanted to say.

I'm going to file this under "Employment" because for me, self employment was and is a large part of my happiness. Running a business is a constant source of new goals - maybe more goals than I want sometimes, but it's never boring. It was also something I wanted early on; it was a dream, and dreams should be turned into goals.

So: be happy. Chase your dreams. That's all I have to offer to the world. It's not much, and yet it really is everything you need to know. Silly, right? But I had to say it.


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Thu Apr 9 13:57:43 2009: 6071   BrettLegree

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It isn't silly at all, in fact it is perfect. Chasing your dreams is what it is all about.

I used to chase money and things too. Then I lost a child, and it all changed. I knew what was important.

Experiences are what makes folks happy, not stuff - of course I know you know that already, and I know it too.

I hope that the majority of people figure that out at some point, and the sooner, the better.



Thu Apr 9 14:20:12 2009: 6072   Friar

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Your comment summarized exactly how I feel. It's what you've done with your life that matters, not how much STUFF you've accumulated.

It also reminds me of that old quote:

"Nobody on their deathbed ever said they wished they spent more time at the office".

That expression has been around for ages, but it speaks volumes.

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