In search of happiness

A few weeks ago I posted this on my facebook page:

I hate two things above all else: 1. My fucking complex life and 2. Slow internet.

A few people chimed in - most to basically say "quit your whining you 50 year old bastard". On one hand they were right. Compared with 90% of the world I have nothing to be sad about.

1. I have never known real hunger. I might have eaten my share of ramen and rice, but I've never really been hungry in my life.

2. I have never gone without shelter. Be it a tent or 71 VW bus or my current ramshackle house, I've never had to make it through rain or snow without reliable shelter.

3. I have never know true poverty. Even in the midst of making huge spousal support payment to my ex and working 3 jobs to make ends meet I could still enjoy good beer and skiing. That might be tough times, but it is a far cry from poverty.

4. I have never had to go without health care. Even when I broke my hand in the 80's and had to pay for the care myself, I still didn't need to worry about the quality or availability of health care.

So here is the kicker. I'm still up nearly every night staring into the darkness wondering what the fuck I'm doing with my life. Why? Because it turns out happiness has nothing to do with all the bullshit things I've been working towards.

Happiness in life - once you have the basics taken care of, require things beyond work satisfaction and affordable health care.

1. You need a stable and happy family life. If you aren't getting along with your wife or children your life will suck even if you can afford ski trips.

2. You need to feel good about your body. Groovy jackets and boots don't hide a lame and slowing body.

3. You need to get past regrets. I've got no suggestions here.

4. You need to be able to sleep reliably. Oddly enough I don't ever recall having trouble sleeping when I had a belly full of cheap ramen and rice and was sleeping on rocky ground in the midst of the Joshua Tree desert.

So while my whining seems trite compared to the plight of much of the rest of the world I'd happily eat more ramen if I could make some progress towards any of the previous 4.

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