Happiness (hap′piness) noun: A sprawling, spotless home fit for the cover of Better Homes and Gardens…being chauffeured around in a brand new SUV…a closet overflowing with name brand clothing. This was once my definition of happiness. Or at least, what I thought was my definition of happiness.
My parents tried to explain what was going on. I tried to fathom the change, but I hated change. Why was my father quitting his job? He wasn’t happy. I thought that must mean he had another job lined up, one where he earned even more money. After all, money was correlated to happiness, right?
I tried to rationalize this in my head. It had to be the money. Why else would my father leave his expansive corner office with a premier view of downtown and a nice computer? Now my father would be working in our basement with no windows and a five-year-old computer for his business that he had as a project on the side. All of my friends’ dads had office jobs and always wore business suits. That was what I thought a real job was. But now he would definitely make more money. I wandered outside to verify this with my mom.
“Will Dad make more money at his new job?” I asked anxiously.
“Well, Sweetie. No, he’s not. But he’ll be home more and you’ll get to spend more time with him. He was always gone so much before that now you’ll finally get to see him more.” My mom answered cautiously – trying to be both honest and optimistic. I ran into my room, sobbing. I sobbed, uncertain of what was going to happen to me, now that my dad might actually be happy and now that I could spend time with him. All I was concerned with was the money.
We got used to my dad working at home. And seeing him at our soccer games. And eating dinner at the same time every night instead of waiting on my dad to get home. And most importantly, being happy. I may not have filled up my closet with the most expensive clothing, but I could find myself being happy without all of that. Piled into our pick up truck, I found myself content, and after a while I realized that was okay. I realized that much to my surprise, despite all that was “missing” from my life, I was still happy. Defining my priorities in life is something that I learned from my father eight years ago, and today I believe in the value of happiness and enjoying everyday as much as possible. There will always be obstacles and tough times along the way, but that’s what makes us human. We must learn to make the most of what we have, and most importantly who we have, in our lives. I believe in seeing the people and things around us instead of merely looking at them everyday.
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