When we are young, we are encouraged to go to school, study hard and get good grades, so that we can come out of school, contribute to the economy and make successes of our lives.To be able to achieve for ourselves and our families, one, two, and three. In the process, while trying to cheer us on and motivate us to achieving the set goals, whether it be passing grade 1 or meticulously cleaning the dog pen, we are offered rewards.These come in either the form of hard cold cash,some possession, or even an experience. Whatever the case, a child is taught earlier on in life that they have to be a dreamer, an achiever, to be able to attain success, in however many interpretations of it there are.
I have lived my entire life exactly to fit that mould.At first my little life was channeled towards getting good grades, which in turn would make my dear parents happy and they would offer me some reward or other,usually a mega christmas shopping spree or some coveted item or other.Yaaay, success.
As I grew older the reason and motivation to succeed was spurred by something a litle bit more me,and a lot bigger, the need and want to buy myself a fancy house and a fancy little sports car, travel the world and eat in all the fancy little cafes and restaurants.I would be successful and happy, and my life would be perfect.My happiness depended on all things that needed money, and lots of it.Meaning I propelled myself forward, to achieve great financial wealth, to attain financial freedom.
I started working (seriously) in the corporate world, a little over ten (10) years ago.I have achieved a lot,I have seen,acquired and travelled a lot, although not to even half the extent of what I am “supposed” to have financially achieved already, but I find myself content and joyful despite this.
Have I become complacent, lazy, less ambitious,or maybe depressed? This is the question that has come to haunt me a lot of late, especially in light of the fact that there currently is a management position vacant at work, just ready for me to apply and hopefully fill, but I am not one bit interested.
Rewind; Being an only child, when I was in my teens, I suffered bad bouts of depression, possibly because of loneliness I don’t know.But thank God to my best friend, my mother and a great listener, who would always lend her patience and tender care, her two ears and some wisdom, once in a while her hard earned cash, to allow me some retail therapy. She knew that my passion for books and stationery would see me heading straight to the nearest book or stationery shop, where I would eventually buy diaries and journals and learn to document my feelings, discover motivational books, and the most important of all, the bible.
In the end, the bible became my friend, my comforter. I found something solid to stand on,some solid reference point and compass, and with such unwavering conviction in the bible and the Lord came my new found true meaning of success.That joy and happiness is found in the small everyday miracles.That no amount of material wealth can bring one joy. Temporarily yes, but not in the finlong run.I would learn to rejoice in all things, keep a positive mind and spirit and learn to appreciate the small things.As a result, I learnt to relax and take life as it comes, shedding the dreaded weight of expectations and conformism that is normally expected of one. I learnt to be me….I lived a lot more, danced a little and laughed a whole lot more.
Which is no surprise then that after I got married in the year 2011, and the birth of my son 14 months later in 2012, the goal posts shifted once more.My life’s purpose seemed to effortlessly move into making sure that I am happy, my husband is happy, my son is happy and we are all a happy and joyful bunch.Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing my two boys happy and in good spirits.Small things like an appreciative husband who loves and respects me make life all worthwhile. We enjoy 95% of the same interests; travelling and all its joys, good food, cars, clothes, most importantly spending time together doing little things. Our paths diverge only at the point where he sits in front of the tv and watches animal programmes, at which I happily take my book and go cuddle up somewhere, to immense myself in the written word.
My definition or dependenceies for happiness have changed and at present I’m at a little crosroads about certain things, especially in light of the fact that, currently the world over, people seem to be glorified and respected for being multitaskers, amassing so much wealth, some even professing to getting only a few hours of sleep a night.Superhuman I don’t know, but what I know for sure is that, that is not what I want for myself.That is no what I want for my life. I want a good life, a good quality life, and not one characterised by how much possessions I have, but by how much peace and calm I have in my spirit and immediate environment.
For now though, I have to forge ahead, run the rat race and be able to provide for all my son’s basics and rewards for getting good grades, until he himself can achieve his own financial freedom and hopefully a well balanced sense of what true happiness entails…..for him.
What defines true happiness for you?