To continue what TechnoBoy and I discussed about being happy, the second rule is to hold lightly to the good things in life.
What I mean by that is that at any time, life can be turned completely upside down. Just because we have a nice house doesn’t mean that will be true tomorrow. A tornado would only need seconds to wreak complete havoc; a fire would only need minutes.
I know a woman whose son was shot and killed in a confrontation with police last month. Another dear friend of mine went surfing with her husband of 25 years in 2006 only to watch him suffer a massive coronary and die in her arms on the beach.
It only took me about ten seconds to fall down skiing in January. In football, they a similar injury an “unhappy triad”. I tore more than that. Recovery may take as long as a year.
Are those examples enough?
Life has difficulties. Anything could be gone in a moment. We shouldn’t spend our time afraid of loss, but do try to always remember that stuff is just stuff. Enjoy it while it’s here, do your best to keep things nice and well-maintained, but that’s where it ends.
Are some things precious to me? Of course. But they’re only things. They’re not more important than people.
Letting go of items that you no longer need or that have become clutter can be difficult at first, but it really is worth it to move things out of your life that have become clutter. It feels….lighter. And finding someone who really needs or wants something that is taking up time, space, and energy in your own life is a lot of fun.
As for the people, the friend who lost her husband in ’06 is always telling us to “give flowers to the living.”
I think she’s got that one right.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents learning to be happy.
Image courtesy of tiarescott via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.
One of my favourite quotes is “I cried because I had no shoes, ’till I met a man who had no feet”; we get too focussed on possessions. Studies have shown that for more lasting happiness we should focus on experiences rather than acquiring more “stuff”. We get bombarded my messages telling us our life won’t be great until we have product x. But the lustre soon wears off, and we want something else.
So true, David! But it’s such a difficult lesson to learn (for all of us). My boys aren’t enjoying my attempts to teach it, or even the way Hubby and I live that principal. Little by little, I hope to convert them to our viewpoint. I’ve still got 6 years left to work on the older boys. Heh, heh, heh.
“Give flowers to the living.” makes sense. Unfortunately not many people live by this ‘rule’ until something bad happens, something that makes them think how life valuable is
Donn, I think that’s true for all of us. That’s why I’m grateful for the way my friend keeps reminding me. It’s a tough concept to live, because in some respects you have to truly admit that you could lose people. It’s easier to pretend they’ll be around forever, don’t you think?
Such a good point that the material things in our lives are not what truly makes us happy. It can be easy to get wrapped up in the material world but it will never bring us contentment. Great post!