Friday, May 15, 2009

Make Me Smile


I've been thinking a lot lately about life, death, and all things meta-physical. Without being too preachy or too deep (after all, it is Friday and the beginning of the weekend), I would like to pose the question of what makes us happy? What really makes us smile from ear to ear? Did you ever stop to think, when was the last time you were truly, truly just happy to be alive?

I don't have time to answer this in one blog post and I'm not sure I could write a book to answer this but, I do know one thing... people don't have a clue as to what really brings them joy. It has been said by someone wiser than I that we all live lives of quiet desperation and everyday that I'm still allowed to breathe in and breathe out, I realize that is true.

Somewhere after the age of (let's say) 21, life stops being this wonderful journey of constant discovery and wonderment to us and we get serious. We get locked into jobs, relationships, morgtages, automobiles, bigger homes to store more things in, and making more money than the next guy. Before we know it, life is over and we find that we don't know our spouses... our kids have grown up and we don't know much about them or feel comfortable having a conversation with them... and most of our friends have gone on to other jobs, new cities, or what have you and at the end of the day, you really don't have much to smile about. This thought came to mind this afternoon.

I was driving past the first place my wife and I lived as man and wife. It was a huge house on the corner of the block that the owners had turned into a duplex. Their son lived on the top floor, they inhabited the floor below it, and my wife and I lived in what was really a basement that had been turned into an apartment. It was very roomy... the bedroom we had, as well as the kitchen, were actually larger than the bedroom and kitchen in the house that we live in now. There is a huge for sale sign on the house now and the couple that rented the apartment to us have since died and, the last I heard, their son was living in Washington, DC.

I spent some of the happiest days of my life in that place. We didn't own a car but we lived near the train station so, I commuted to work everyday. We lived near a market and a dry cleaners and there was another black newly married couple that lived near us. They moved into a house a few years before we didbut, I couldn't tell you where they are now. The point is, I was blissfully happy. I don't even think I had a credit card then.

Today, I have a home, a car, a grown daughter, two grandkids, a job that is very stressful and unfulfilling but pays well, and a lot of stress and free-floating anxiety. I've got a savings account, checking account, credit cards, and the like but, I'm not as happy as I was then when it was just the three of us and we had next to nothing, except each other. The funny thing is, if you had asked me back then, I would've told you something like... "When we get a home of our own and a car, we'll be so happy and so set. We all do that... "If I can get a bigger house, I'll have it made!" "If I can get that new BMW, I'll be happy!" "If I can make 200K next year, I'll be king of the hill baby!"

When we do get what we say will make us happy, we find ourselves miserable still. Do you know why? Things can't make you happy. Some of us never find that out until it's too late. I'm not writing this to make you think that I'm depressed. I'm not... I'm doing real good. It's just that the things that really made and continue to make me happy have nothing to do with money or the accumulation of things. Usually, people who don't have any money or anything else write something like that but, I'm being the exception to the rule.

Think about this... every dollar, every quarter, every nickel, and every penny you ever earned and put aside will go to somebody else after you've gone. The house you are living in will, more than likely, be lived in by somebody else. The car you're driving now will be driven by somebody else. You're only using the stuff that you sweat and bleed to obtain for a short period of time. Money doesn't have an owner... only a spender.

So, what makes me really happy? What makes me smile? Probably something different from what might make you smile but, I can say this... what makes me smile are things that can't be bought. Things I brought here with me when I came and things I hope to take with me when I leave. The answer is in the spiritual... the unexplainable. Those things, those moments... with a child, a lover, a good friend, or a pet that are priceless. Those things that can't be measured... at least not by man.

24 comments:

BorednTalkative said...

You make alot of sense with this post. Very insightful.

Sunflower said...

Keith ,this was so real, so insightful.I loved this.

Brenda said...

I love how you bare your soul in these posts..I really felt this.

Cheryl said...

I feel you on this!

Halo said...

You are so right Keith,We don't know what really makes us happy...Some of us never come to that realization.

Lisa said...

Once again, you give us what we need just when we need it. I needed to read this this morning.

Toni said...

Keith,You made my morning!

Angie B. said...

This made me smile!

Strongblkwmn said...

I think what makes us happy changes because we're constantly learning and growing. What made me happy five years ago may not do the same thing for me now because my priorities and outlook on life have changed.

Great post as usual.

Vanessa said...

I really liked your perspectives on the notion of real happiness in this post.

Jazzy said...

Happiness is relative fam!

James Perkins said...

Good post. People change as they grow and what you think will make you happy now..might not mean anything down the road...The important thing to know is that happiness and joy springs from you the individual, not from any outside source or thing.

Simon Bastion said...

I loved the sentiment in this!

Grover Tha Playboy said...

I expected a joke today..instead you dropped some science on us...
Good job!

Swaggie said...

We kill ourselves our entire lives trying to accumulate things and we are still miserable after we get them, trying to hold on to them and acquire more..You aint never lied.

Sean said...

Truer words have never been spoken good brother. I like how you put this down.

Tate2 said...

Hey Where's the Weekend Joke?? Just kidding Keith..This was a nice post just the same.

Captain Jack said...

Lovely writing as usual and very good points made about what is true happiness.

The Dreamy One said...

U really lifted my spirits with this post!

My family and pooch mean the world to me.

Material things mean nothing, they only get old after a while!

Great post

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Exactly! I needed to read this.

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

How true, Keith...things don't have the ability to make us happy. Strangely enough, this question always makes me pause because I think happiness is a state of mind and heart. You can't be happy without the alignment of both. It was only recently that I started truly acknowledging the importance of the seemingly small things and desiring a deep understanding of how our minds, hearts and motivations.

On another note...the fam (OG, me and Miz) has been wondering when you'll join us on Twitter...lol.

Angel said...

All this post has made me do is want to persue my own happiness properly.

Mizrepresent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mizrepresent said...

Wow, it seems we were both thinking about happiness...at the same time.




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