This I Believe

Gerry - Macong, Georgia
Entered on January 22, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

Over the past four years, I have determined that I am not supposed to be happy. I say this matter-of-factly. My personality is what I would call a dreamer. From my earliest memory, I was day-dreaming of greatness. As a child of eight or nine, I used to hit rocks with a stick at the end of my driveway, always with two men on in the bottom of the 9th. The crowd screaming for glory, and I would deliver confidently. And if I didn’t, there was always a reason for another toss. A silent tipped rock, an unnoticed umpire decision, or even a last-second time out. As a teenager, I dreamed of suffering a martyr-like injury, creating a standing room only hospital room, full of admiring, emotional friends and family. I simply laid there in my glory, respectfully soaking up all the attention, vowing to make a heroic physical comeback. As a young adult in my early 20s, I dreamed of the gold at the end of my business rainbow. I was going to be a millionaire by 30 and be able to retire by 40. Small companies, large companies, mega real estate deals, and most importantly, a corner office in a skyscraper. I have a picture of me that was taken by my wife on our honeymoon some 20 years ago. I am standing on a rock, the ocean behind me, with my arms spread upward toward the sky. I always have looked at that picture as my symbol of my “dreamness”. From forever, I have wanted to attack the world with vigor, slaying it, and enjoying the spillers and attention of victory.

But, at 42, with two wonderful kids, a wife who is my best friend, and a healthy father, mother and brother who love me for what I am, I have not conquered the world, won some nobility award, or even amassed enough money to pay off my mortgage. Yes, I have a terrific life. But, in reality, I am not happy. I don’t consider myself successful, for the dreams of glory are still there and the realities of life keep me getting on an airplane or working those extra hours or days. Recently, I asked myself and a few close friends if humans really are supposed to be happy. Does anyone sit on their porch or couch and say, “I’m happy”. And if they do, how do they get up and tackle the next day. What are their dreams, what are the challenges that keep those “happy” people motivated? Don’t get me wrong, I have many happy, glorious moments, but I honestly believe I equate happiness with contentment. And, despite my dreams of glory, I don’t ever believe I will be content. And so, I believe, in reality, my unhappiness is what keeps me alive.