“Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Brilliant man, Friedrich Nietzsche.
My sister and I are in the kitchen. I am in a grand mood, after listening to some Broods, FKA twigs and George Ezra, while reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. Good music, good reading and soon some good coffee. I’ve just made a new pot and realize that we’ve finished our Hazelnut creamer and it’s time to open a new bottle of sugary goodness.
“Hey, I’ll open the Cinnabon kind, that’ll be good right?” I say excitedly and actually skip over from the fridge to my coffee.
Oh the days when Cinnabon creamer is the highlight. I live for them. I say, “Tricia, this is the epitome of what you’re always writing about.” The simplicity in the momentary happiness I have from creamer reminds me how easily I can grab the reigns. If I choose to crack a smile over only complicated high ranking achievements and experiences, then honestly the elated feeling would rarely stop by my door. BUT choosing to be happy with something like creamer…well then. That’s what I call moving onward and upward.
Appreciating something like creamer is also time-sensitive. It’s very now. Creamer is what I’m pouring in my coffee now and what I’m drinking now and what I’m talking about with my sister. We’re not discussing an existential thought or debating a family issue to find reason and meaning. Nope. We are simply, and perhaps superficially, obsessed with creamer.
When I was in high school I had a small obsession with absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett. I played Hamm in End Game and analyzed Waiting for Godot to write an essay on the cyclical reality of existence. Beckett once said (I’m paraphrasing) that in life, humanity will always be waiting for something. We wait to grow up, we wait to find a dream, we wait to graduate, wait to marry, wait to have children. And yes, Beckett is correct humanity is constantly waiting for the goal, or the period at the end of the sentence. But I was always perplexed by the emptiness of that reality. I don’t want waiting, I want now. Waiting in this sense is very…unsatisfying. Akin to taking a walk and reaching a cliff, you fall but catch a root and then you’re just resigned to dangle there for the rest of your days.
In his book Happier, Tal Ben Shahar wrote about something called the “arrival fallacy”. It was brought to my attention while reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and so I did more research to uncover the dilemma behind the concept. I’m sure you can guess what it is and it’s the idea that we’ll reach fulfillment once we’ve arrived. But once we do, we soon realize that the satisfaction is momentary if existent at all. Rubin states that our expectation has already been the “high” and we’ve idealized the joy the arrival will bring. Think about the last movie you saw. It might have been recommended to you on the highest standards and yet when you saw it, the actual movie fell short to your expectation and was found wanting.
The end achievement is not the goal. Or at least it shouldn’t be. The process is the goal, the continual change and the creation of your own persona; your own brand. The step by step movement. That’s very now.
Friedrich Nietzsche also said “He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” To accept that statement, a person must be okay with failure, accepting to criticism and greet fear with welcoming arms. There hasn’t been a single act of achievement that wasn’t met with all of those concepts. Guess what Tricia, failure is part of the process, criticism is part of growth and fear is natural if you’re going to call yourself a human being. Accept it with some aplomb and you’re one step closer to your definition of happiness (it’s different for everyone; shocker).
And it’s very now.
Us happy people gotta stick together.
I depend heavily on my family and my friends whom I ask to send anything on happiness, or motivation, how they find it all in the name of life and being able to live it. I am very grateful to them for their participation. If you’d like to do so please…drop me a line.~FindingFelicity
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