Many years ago I read the book: “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. Clever bunch of thoughts in this read but one thing that came away with me was the observation that some people are about accomplishments and some people are about connections.
FIREmen, POLICEmen, ARMYmen, and so forth. What they have done, who they are, how important they are is broadcast in a uniform. Dress to impress, right? Tell the world exactly who you are and why they should care.
Then there are the people who wear what feels right that day, and change, maybe three times in the same day, depending on how the mood changes. These people are telling the world how to approach them based on their feelings rather than what they have done.
Each is defining themselves in a very different way.. one by achievement.. one by connections. Interesting.. but too gender based and perhaps over simplified.
Recently Kit.. one of the people on this earth I dearly love said something to the effect that we should not be defined by what we have done, rather we should allow ourselves to be defined by our passions.
Frankly, this idea repulsed the over achiever in me but at the same time the muse in me recognized the kernel of truth I needed to mull over. Questions, questions… How DO we define ourselves? What is our ultimate goal in life? What are we trying to achieve in life, really?
Are we simply driven and focused by biology – the chemicals that make up our moods – Testosterone, estrogen, dopamine, serotonin, Oxytocin.. etc? Certainly what we feel and therefore what we think is chemically driven – this is an indisputable fact. Any sadist understands this on some level when they play. But we are more than neurons and chemicals.. right?
I have long maintained there are two great lessons in life that we should endeavor to always get better at.. and should teach our children.. and one of those life lessons is this: What exactly is happiness and how do we achieve it?
I can tell you from my own musings that achieving happiness involves a few things.. like appreciation especially for the small things, personal satisfaction in our efforts, and from Cherishing days past, dreaming of tomorrow, but ever living right here in our “now” moments. On a more spiritual level it is important to note that the more pure we would become, the more burning away of our preconceptions we must undergo. It is by your trials that you will find your peace and strength.
Nothing in what I said about happiness – what I have learned about it… directly relates to achievement. Oh.. personal satisfaction in our efforts could be misconstrued to mean achievements, but that was not what I was saying. It is not the final product of our efforts.. the success or failure of our endeavors that we should take satisfaction from. It is the effort we put in… and the things we learned.. the things we would do better next time… in short… the passion we put into the effort that is a well-spring of joy.
I know there is a learning here and I am on a cusp. I’ll let it bake a few days. We are talking about camping this weekend. Perhaps over a campfire, a burned hotdog, and too many beers it will come to me. Carpe Diem my friends… Be someone’s great day.