the first book i wanted to discuss was most definitely going to be RILKE’S LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET. but i gave it away at a dinner party, where the person throwing the party asked us to bring something of interest to her. a joke, a book, anything new for her to try. that’s my favorite book or treasure to give anyone, and i have bought that book and given it away more than a handful of times.
but last night, while sick on the couch, i found a documentary on netflix called HAPPY. the message was that people get used to their situations, whether extremely poor or very rich. and those things don’t make them happy or even unhappy, once they get used to their situation. it’s family and friends, and not working a stressful job, that makes them happy. having a more simple life.
so i thought i would pull this book off the shelf, after watching that: LIVING THE SIMPLE LIFE, by ELAINE ST. JAMES. it’s a little stocking-stuffer-type gift book ~ and i think someone actually bought it for me.
chapter 8. remember a time when you were truly happy
“ask anyone who is past the age of 35 to recall a time when they were truly happy. most people will say they’re pretty happy now, though they may admit they sometimes feel overwhelmed by the demands of life these days.
if you press them further, a lot of people will remember a time in their youth, perhaps a particularly wonderful summer when they had few cares or responsibilities and spent seemingly endless weeks fishing on a quiet stream or lazing by the neighborhood pool.
or perhaps they’ll remember the joy of being young and single, or of being newly married and madly in love. they had few possessions to weigh them down, no house payment, maybe only a small car payment. they worked hard, but work didn’t consume all their time and energy. mostly they didn’t worry about health insurance, life insurance, home insurance, interest rates, the dow, or taxes. life was simple.
most of us wouldn’t go back to being young and totally independent and having nothing at all to call our own. but many of us would like to recapture the feeling of those carefree days.”
that’s practically the whole chapter. nice little book. that whole “happy, young, single” thing sort of eludes me. i never felt carefree when i was younger. i always felt like i had a lot of responsibilities. i wonder why?
i don’t have a magical summer i can think of, like she mentioned. i have flashes of just a few minutes of freedom, or an afternoon of complete happiness. i think i’ve always been heavily attached to my ambition, and a sense of complete happiness when i get something accomplished. the first thing that came to mind when i read that chapter was, “i don’t really look back to find happiness. i feel like i will be happy when…”
that’s not a good thing. i mean, i’m happy right now. i’m not as sick as i was yesterday. i’m extremely hopeful that i will get the stuff done that is bogging me down and making me, for lack of a better word, unhappy. so i guess i’m admitting that i’m happy when i’m productive, successful, and efficient.
EEEWWWWWW. how have i become this person?
but those moments that i truly felt free and happy when i was a kid, usually had to do with my room being neat and clean and pretty, the furniture probably freshly rearranged for the 100th time, and i felt a sense of completeness. i never once thought, “man, i wish i had a bigger room”. i just wanted it to look beautiful, and i wanted to have everything organized and in its place.
so if that makes me happy, i don’t know what that says about me, but it looks like i’m not going to change any time soon, since i’ve been that way for decades!
no WONDER this loft is stressing me out!
is happiness, due to a sense of accomplishment, a bad thing?