A Lesson in Happiness

Shannon - Irvine, California
Entered on February 4, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

A Lesson in Happiness

I believe that it is important to be happy with what you have no matter how much it is.

Growing up in Orange County, I have seen many different people from all walks of life. From those struggling to pay the bills, those living on the streets, and those living lavish lives.

Up until high school I went to a private Christian school all my life. Looking around at all of the things that my peers had growing up always left me wanting more. The school however, was located in Santa Ana in a not so nice area. Seeing those living on the streets helped me to be more grateful for the things that I have.

When I was 14 I started my first year at Northwood High School. It was far different from what I had been expecting. I was expecting diversity, the underprivileged, the wealthy; but it seemed as if I was still living with those stepford children from private school. Everyone had exactly what it appeared they could ever want.

As my friends began to turn 16, one by one I noticed them driving up in their brand new beamers, their Mercedes and their Lexus’. I knew that when I turned 16 the choice of luxurious cars would not be so available. I live a comfortable life here in Irvine but in no way would I consider myself spoiled or rich.

Three months after I turned 17, I got my first car. A red ’96 Ford Escort. So excited at the fact that I had a car, I was hardly able to worry about the fact that it had no power locks, no power windows, and no CD player. But as the thrill of the car faded, I began to realize all that I was missing. When I started to lock my keys in my car, I recognized how much I needed those power locks. Or when the speedometer broke and I noticed how I tended to drive faster than the other cars.

All of the issues I had with my car seemed to disappear when I drive back through Santa Ana to see my old friends. I look around and notice that what I have is the envy of some of the people there.

I have come the conclusion that it is important to be happy with what I have because even though there are people with much more than me, there are many people with much, much less.

When I concentrate on being grateful for what I have instead of wanting to have more, I find myself in a much happier state of mind.

I am in charge of my own life, I make my own happiness. I choose to be happy, and that is the most important choice that I make every day.

As I learned through The Great Gatsby’s realization of the unattainable American dream, you will always want more than what you have. So you should always be happy with what you have no matter how much it is. This, I believe.