“People confuse the source of their happiness. They become temporarily happy when they get a new car, or a new house, or a new marriage. And they think that they are suddenly happy because of this new thing in their life. In reality, they are happy because for a brief moment, they are without desire. But then soon another desire comes along. And the search continues.”
– A quote off a photo caption in Humans of New York
Letting go has never been easy despite it being a constant in one’s life. People always say we need to accept that change is constant, but we also forget to say that with that change comes letting go of a place, a person, a profession or a job, a sentimental object. Once that is gone, we lose what was once a huge part of who we were in past moments and move on to the present, where what is gone–is well, gone.
Back in high school, our Catholic philosophy class taught us that people would never be satisfied. I can’t recall the exact term Aquinas and the rest of the Vatican coined, but what I remember the most was that we are bound to constantly be unsatisfied–never happy–just constantly in search, going from each means to another until we find the end. (The lesson led to the said end being God, but that’s not my point).
I graduated high school armed with the knowledge there was no such thing as total happiness (except with God and faith, but that’s another story). I had this knowledge that happiness would be a fleeting moment that went from one thing to another.
I eventually learned that life was about savoring those happy moments. The impermanence, the temporary state only made those minutes, those hours, those years worth holding on to while they lasted.
But then there are those people and those places we hold on to. Despite the distance, the exterior changes, the fights, the faults, and everything else that could get in the way, these people choose to stay. You work and fight for them to stay. They become a part of you as much as the air you breathe or the address you indicate on an information form. You stick to that person because you want to, because you have to, because you’ve spent so much time making them a part of your life.
Yet the choices aren’t always enough to make you want to stay too. So I left. I left despite having to leave a chunk of myself in the past into a present I have yet to understand.
I was told that happiness was fleeting, that the search for fulfillment is forever this hunger that is forever asking to be fed or a movement from one hunger to the next. But as that caption indicates, perhaps we shouldn’t be taught that happiness is in finding the one, the One, or the End or an end, or a thousand means.
Happiness is usually a smile, laughter that fills the room, the desire to share that good feeling with others.
But how does happiness come in when we’re in between? When we haven’t found quiet yet what we’re looking for or had to let go of someone/thing to better understand what we really need?
I’m rambling but haven’t you ever asked yourself these questions?