Happiness is the moment before you need more happiness. Don Draper, Mad Men
Early this morning, without leaving the house, I found myself in a cafeteria-type hall with dozens of seminar attendees on break for lunch. The lady who plopped herself down on the chair next to mine slouched back and sighed, “I’ll be glad when I can get away from my boss.” She said she was tired of being afraid. Her pursuit of happiness had tied her to the whims of an unscrupulous employer. This overly stressed woman had the attention of everyone nearby. Her stress had affected her mental and physical well being.
At the next table, a man wearing a white straw hat, and gray whiskers waited until the woman had finished her sigh. With his chin in his hand, and his elbow on the table he asked, “When happiness comes, what will you do?” My dream self immediately began to contemplate that question. My real self woke up and went looking for paper and a pen to write the question exactly as I heard the dream man ask it.
A new twist
Do we wait for happiness to do stop doing what makes us unhappy? Do we expect to be happy before we begin to do what we believe is our meaning to life? Do we know what we would do if we found the happiness we think we are in pursuit of? Maybe we don’t even know what we would do if happiness found us.
The message I take from this interaction with dream people is that happiness is a choice and waiting for or pursuing happiness before doing what I believe is meaningful to life is a waste of time, ability, and opportunity. Last year I made commitments to cut ties with people who live lifestyles fueled by the assets of other people. This year I took steps to use the lessons I learned from people who will never be happy with what they have. Happiness arrives whenever I let happiness in.