Are You Satisfied Yet?
Jackie Jackson wrote an article, titled What is Happiness? It was an excellent article that I found included valid and valuable suggestions.
Long after finishing her article, the idea of happiness stayed with me. It got me thinking about how much of our lives we spend seeking that sense of satisfaction. Happiness is so often tied to satisfaction. Year after year we accumulate material things yet still want more. We waste much time that way too, don’t we?
It seems the elusive satisfaction is always one more product away. How often have you said, “When….happens,” or “When I get…” or some other “when?” That is one four letter word that seems to keep satisfaction–and perhaps happiness too–just out of reach.
Yet when we are eating a meal, don’t we usually have sense enough to push back our plates when we’ve had enough? Why don’t we do that in life as well?
“Happiness is not having more but needing less…”
I don’t know who first said that, but I believe it. Imagine if you could be happy right where you are with what you have. I am assuming your basic needs are met. Could it be enough to satisfy you? Could you accept that what you have is all you need, and stop the struggle for more?
In a materialistic society such as ours—and much of the world today—is it conceivable to be satisfied? At times we believe our status calls for more, at times our sense of entitlement demands it. Sometimes legitimately, oft times not. If you need a bigger home for many children, that is one thing. But does a family of two really need a huge home with thousands of square feet?
If the car still looks good and runs well, without need for too many repairs, do we need a new one? The same applies to furnishings clothes, and whatever we possess. Will we push back the figurative plate and say “enough?”
Do we seek more because society insists? Or are we persuaded because of what we see or hear on television? In ads? Do we feel we must compete? I wonder why. How did we get to this point?
My family always lived comfortably, not in luxury, but comfortably. We’ve been fortunate. But we spent a lot of time and effort going for the bigger house, the nicer car, more of whatever. If you have too, think of the time and money spent trying to reach those goals. It’s huge, isn’t it?
What if we had been content to stay where we were? What if instead of spending all we made, we’d worked less hours, or saved that money or helped others with it. I imagine we have spent fortunes over those decades. That is just sad I think. But in a way, the money is the least of it.
it’s hard to comprehend how much peace and happiness there might have been in life if we had stopped at some point earlier and said “it’s enough.” The struggling would have stopped. The coveting or need to compete would be gone. The time to enjoy life would have increased hugely. How much more time the breadwinner of the family could have spent with the kids, with their spouse? As you look back, which is more important?
The pursuit of satisfaction takes so much out of us. Most of us work hard to begin with. We must work harder and harder to have more. Once we have more, it usually means we must continue working harder to keep what we have. It also takes more effort and time to maintain what we have accumulated. It can be costly in time and money. Who is in control at that point? You or your possessions?
It sounds better to me to have the chores done quickly with less to care for. I no longer want to maintain a bigger home and yard just to house all of the stuff—much of which is unimportant. I want to need less money to support myself. That might mean I work less hours. I’d rather spend that time with my family, walking on the beach, exploring a forest, reading a book. Even if you still want to work hard to save, wouldn’t it be a wonderful feeling to be saving money, to be one of the few who live within their means?
In the end, doesn’t that provide more satisfaction? It certainly is freeing.
Maybe it is part of aging, the clarity of how pointless the accumulating is compared to the value of time to enjoy living. It seems we collect and collect up to a certain age, then from that point on, spend our time on trying to rid ourselves of the unnecessary things we’ve gathered.
I just wish the young today—and all ages–would see the constant striving for more is unnecessary. Needing less should be a major lifestyle goal that could change their lives now. You might even find happiness then.