It seems like people just always have to have more things. Different things. More different things. Nothing seems like it is enough anymore. Why? Why are people so discontented with just whatever it is that they already have? I understand that corporations don’t want things to last forever because they wouldn’t be able to make money as easily, but to blame capitalism as the reason will not suffice for me. There are plenty of people who live in a capitalist society who are happy with whatever it is they already have. Well, maybe not plenty, but those people exist.
I work in an industry of which I am privileged to meet and greet people from matured and maturing generations. They are always glad to share their lives with me to help me help them make decisions. From this, I have noticed that the generations before mine were much happier (and less stressed, but that’s a-whole-nother topic). That is not to say that the generation I am in now is not happy, but for the most part, we are miserable. Or at least, we think we are miserable.
What is it about now that is making people less happy? We have more solutions; more career paths; more styles; more modes of communication, distribution, and transportation; more items on a menu, even. We have so much crap and we are even encouraged that it is good to have diversity and explore all options! Perhaps, that is just it. Perhaps, people are never going to be fully satisfied with their lives because there is just so much. Perhaps, even too much.
All this stuff, I think, has made the word commitment become the new taboo. Sorry, not the word, but rather the ideology of commitment. It’s like what sex was back in the day. It’s only acceptable to discuss when it’s in terms of marriage. It’s a very “adults only” kind of topic. And I don’t just mean commitment between two people. Commitment can be a scary term to apply between a person and career; having a family; scheduling; and even making purchases. No one seems to like the thought or the act of having something for ever. It’s probably because there are so many options now.
I always associated commitment with stability and I guess stability is not cool anymore. It is old fashioned and stale. People seem to be afraid of stability; of being fixed and static; of missing out. There seems to be this trend that anything that lasts longer than 2 years “has maxed out.” I understand that doing something different allows for new perspectives and experiences and growth and blah, blah, blah… But from this, I started to think instead of asking:
“will you marry me?” ask “will you divorce me in 4 years?”
“what do you do?” ask “what do you plan on quitting in 3 years?”
“where do you plan to live?” ask “where do you plan to move from in 5 years?”
If something gets your head, heart, and hormones feeling amazing and awesome, then why let it go? Better question: why is that not enough? Perhaps, people enjoy taking things for granted because it’s less work than recognizing, understanding, and accepting the value of something extraordinary. But no, that can’t be it.
That phrase “happiness is a choice” is bullshit. If happiness is a choice, then why can’t people commit to choosing that? I prefer “happiness is whatever you make it.” It seems much easier to commit to something that self-made. Maybe, instead of choosing happiness we ought to be making happiness. To choose happiness suggests that happiness has been pre-defined and pre-designed. To make happiness suggests that happiness has been re-defined and re-designed.
Perhaps, that is it. Generations before mine were happy because they were happy with whatever they were given. They didn’t have a lot so they made the best and most out of whatever they were given. The generation I am in now and generations that follow already have the best and the most made. And the bestest and the mostest continue to be made. But then again, to each his/her/its own—I mean, perhaps, some people would prefer to have happiness given to them.
For me, it is okay to be complacent and it is okay to be curious. It is okay to go with the flow and it is okay to stay grounded. It is okay to commit and it is okay to change. It does not have to be one extreme or the other. As long as I can create my own outcome, I am happy.