Happiness: Simple VS Extraordinary

denis waitley quote

This week I took (another) break from my spinning classes. At times, it is harder to keep up the pace. Its one of these periods for me. But that’s another story… What’s important is that kids were away that night so we decided to take this precious time as a couple and went to the movies. Unless it gets translated or adapted, you probably won’t watch “Le Mirage”, made by a French Canadian. It’s quite unfair in fact because I think everyone can benefit from it.

The summary is quite simple: an unhappy couple turns towards over-consumption in order to forget about their problems. As if owning things would bring them happiness. It soon turns out a total mess during which people hurt themselves.

Once again, it sort of proved my husband and I right. We are simple people aiming to find extraordinary things into simple lives. Seems logic? Easy? Maybe. Yet it is somehow the opposite of what we mostly see around us.

Sometimes, I hate the YOLO philosophy. Not that it is bad. But I think many people get lost by such thinking. Based on the fact we only have one life to live, there are thousands and thousands of people looking for the extraordinary.

That extraordinary life, where you have plenty of money but don’t work so hard. That extraordinary life where everything is abundance and there is nothing to worry about. That extraordinary life when you wake up each day with a big smile thinking how beautiful life is. That extraordinary life in which you are perfect, your kids are perfect and your wife or husband is perfect too. Everyone is happy and you can almost touch a rainbow when someone smiles at you. Hope you get my sarcastic side here. Of course, I exaggerate a little. But I think you get the picture.

Others look for the extraordinary through traveling the world and having no permanent “home” so to speak. At least this lifestyle is based on experiences rather than things. I can imagine how “rich” these people can be and I admire their guts for leaving all they have to change their life.

 

However, in these two cases, I can’t help wondering what if we were all missing the point?

 

Take 50 old or dying people into a room and ask them what they are the proudest of? I’m sure most answers will be about their family, their partner or their friends. Their happiness will mostly be about the bonds they created with others. The roots they have been able to leave as an inheritance to the following generations. Sounds cliché?

On the other hand, ask them about their biggest regret. According to this Forbes article, the number 1 regret of dying people is “Working so much at the expense of family and friendships”. Once again, it has nothing to do with the things you own or how many travels you made.

 

It has to do with time. Time with beloved ones.

When you get old and your kids will be busy living their own life, what will be left?

 

simple things

These two thoughts sometimes haunt me. In a positive way. It gets me thinking what makes me the happiest. Is it a new car? Is it my home? Is it a lifestyle? Is it perfection? No. The times during which I’m the happiest are the simplest: a laugh with my sons or my husband, a walk at sunset, a nice chat with a friend, the first “I love you” from my son, etc.

I once heard from a well-known personality here: “If you want to be happy, turn to what’s free” (-Boucar Diouf).

I must admit I very much agree with that. To me, happiness is mostly in the simple.

 

But Extraordinary is Good!

All this doesn’t mean extraordinary is forbidden or evil. I don’t mind people who own the nicest house! I sure admire one’s success, although I don’t look for a particular material success.

Of course, I don’t mind those traveling the world! I listen to their stories with interest. I sure want to travel more myself! But if you spend 50 weeks working like an idiot to spend these two weeks elsewhere expecting happiness, you might not find it. If on the other hand you spend 50 weeks away from your family and friends you might feel like a lonely stranger when you come back for these 2 weeks left.

Let’s just not forget the simple or free. You don’t have to live in Hawaii to admire a nice sunset. You don’t have to live in a New York Penthouse to laugh at night with your husband. You just have to be there in the moment.

 

What about you? Is your happiness found in the simple or the extraordinary?

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