Following her trip to Fiji, my friend Olivia spoke of a boy she met on the street.
“We ran into a group of enthusiastic, fresh faced locals, having some fun on a break from work. They were the happiest group of young people I have met in my life,” She said.
“One boy was ecstatic because working 12 hours a day 7 days a week for 4 cents an hour, he had finally managed to save enough money to take his brother to the movies. It was inspiring; he had not one bad word to say about his lifestyle.”
Conclusion: Happiness isn’t conditional, it just is.
It’s sad that from an early age, we are spoon-fed propaganda that forces us to believe that to be happy, we need things. We must buy this, go there, study that, or change who we are to meet some kind of social standards. And THEN we will be happy. But we never get there.
That new Maserati feels great for a few moments, and then we are onto the next consumerist quest. The next item on the master checklist. Then the newer models roll out and 5 minutes later your ‘state of the art’ technology is obsolete. It’s the “Give A Mouse A Cookie” philosophy on a universal scale.
In an image-obsessed society where creating the perfect ‘you’ is just a credit card click away, we stake all our values in the wrong pots. As humans, it’s natural to compare what we have to our neighbor, but the social schematics of first-world living drives this instinct to disgustingly unnatural heights.
And it extends beyond materialism. Until I “get this promotion” or “reach that status”, I will not be the person I want to be. When did we start measuring self-worth by what we don’t have, instead of what we do? “I’m not good enough.”, “I can’t afford that.”, “I’m not ready.”