I believe we could all learn a lot from SpongeBob Squarepants. My disclaimer here is that I am 24 years old and all of my favorite TV shows are animated, but there is a very logical explanation for this. SpongeBob, like many cartoon characters, maintains a perpetual state of happiness no matter what circumstances befall him in each 11 minute segment of the show. His naïve nature allows him to turn a blind eye to the rude, condescending nature of his neighbor, Squidward. I am not suggesting that anyone should walk through life in a state of oblivion, but if we could choose to let other people effect us less and focus on maintaining our “perpetual state of happiness” I think we would be a lot better off. Trust me when I say I understand how hard this is. I work retail and if I hear the words please and thank you from a customer, it’s almost jaw-dropping. Happiness, and I know this is going to come off sounding selfish, is the most important thing we can achieve. Luckily, I also believe that most of us will achieve that happiness, at least in part, by helping others and forming meaningful relationships with the people that are most important to us. I went through a period of time in my life when I had no hope of happiness and what I gained from that experience was the knowledge that I could never let myself be that unhappy again along with a tattoo in the small of back. It’s the Chinese symbol for happiness, or at least what the tattoo artist assured me was the Chinese symbol for happiness. I do not think it is realistic to live your life, as the old adage goes, as if every moment were your last. None of us would have stable jobs, happy kids, or be able to achieve home ownership if we chose to live in that manner. We are all, for the most part, working towards an end goal that, to the best of our knowledge will bring us happiness. Hopefully we are right, but until we meet that goal, we have to enjoy the ride. It is up to each of us to seek out those things that make us happy whether it is jellyfishing and flipping burgers at the Krusty Krab (you really have to see the show!) or writing a letter to an old friend just to catch up. I am working towards a Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling. That’s the career path that I hope will make me happy, but until then things that keep my happiness quotient high are visiting with my amazing parents, three-hour phone conversations with my fiancé who lives 1100 miles away, and my little cat who waits for me at the front door every evening when I get home. And, of course, getting in some quality time watching Nickelodeon.
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