Thinking a lot about happiness. In these times, in this society it feels like everything has to be “right now”. Instant gratification. A weird type of insanity we live in that everything is available and accessible to us all the time, every day. If we feel down, or upset, well we can go outside our door, and buy a coffee, grab a milkshake, we can buy a new tv or go on a vacation at a moment’s notice. When we plan our meal, shopping lists or time off everything is possible and available to us. We don’t think about waiting until we have the funds or until that special time of year. If we want an item whether its food, or something else we can get it. It is the on the store shelves or on amazon.ca. It creates such an insanity around us, where our identity becomes harder and harder to separate from others, from what we see available around us or what other people have.
What we need vs want becomes blurry and the pace of life becomes full of quick fixes, instant treats, cravings that we seek to satisfy.
But this is not the way it is everywhere in the world, or for everyone around us. There are many reasons, people slow down, or places where availability is nothing like what we experience here. I have felt that recently, isolating myself due to my mobility restrictions. I feel the slowness and the purposefulness of waiting until I have a chance to go out, carefully making a list of necessities for a friend to pick up, or saving money for necessary medical items.
In some places you wait weeks until eggs are available again due to food shortages, where you save up two months to buy the pair of jeans in the store, where you preserve your food in cans and jars so that you have some when its cold and nothing grows outside.
Joel comes from a place where he experienced some of this. Although his childhood was full and plentiful, during his adolescence Cuba went through a time of scarcity and he remembers life changing, having to live without and make thing last longer. He has taught me about the value of his possessions. He doesn’t seek out a new shirt every couple of months and it doesn’t occur to him to seek happiness in the acquiring of things or desire a trip through the drive through for another coffee in the afternoon.
Of Course, I don’t aspire that we all live without the necessities, or that we don’t desire that everyone has access to what we have around us here. But there is something to be said, for slowing down, saving up, for waiting, for focusing on our needs, and fulfilling our wants at a different pace.
I feel the need to keep things with value, and let go of so much else. Trying to keep consumption in the background. The priority is time together and enjoying every day. When we do consume we try to keep shopping lists simples and balance out basics with treats, and not fulfill our every desire on every trip to the store.
The new year feels like a good time to reflect on these things….