Earlier today I stopped by Target to get a birthday card for a friend. I made an observation about the people there, about people that shop on the weekends in particular. Something I’ve never noticed before as we usually work on the weekends. Most of the people looked like they had no real reason to be there. They were simply meandering around looking for something to spend their hard-earned money on. Target is a great place for that too. Lots of pretty things, cute clothes, delicious food. You’re bound to find something. I looked around and started to notice the amount of stuff that one could walk out of the store with never having any idea that they ever wanted such a thing until they got bored one day and saw it while strolling thru *insert store of choice here*.
I couldn’t help but wonder, does that really make people happy. Truly happy? Fulfilled? If it does, that’s great. But I fear that’s not the case. We’re living in a consumption-based society where we’re led to believe that consuming should make us happy but really it’s a facade.
Asking yourself “What really, truly makes me happy?” is not an easy question and takes a lot of introspection. So, instead, we get bored on one of our two whole days off and go wander around a store trying to find something that will make us feel good. Before you know it, you’ve spent a few hours worth of pay on some fancy new place mats that in a week you won’t even remember are new any more.
I grew up in a fancy home filled with beautiful furnishings and expensive decor. Since many of my friends and family lived the same way, I didn’t really know any other way. I remember wondering as a teenager, what kind of career I would have to have to be able to afford my own big extravagant home filled with luxurious things. Over the years I learned that my source of happiness was not in the size of the house I lived in or the kind of car I drove.
Our happiness as individuals all stems from a different place. Yet, from the moment we begin school as young children we begin to see that if we’re like everyone else then we’re cool but if we do things a little differently then we’re weird. I find that absolutely ridiculous. Our unique quirks as individuals are much more beautiful and inspiring than anyone who conforms to what they think society expects of them. Because really, what is the point in trying to make society happy?
Next time you get bored, don’t default to the easiest task. Don’t look at some app on your phone, don’t turn on the tv and start surfing, don’t go waste your life away on Facebook. Stop for a second and ask yourself what can I do right now that will make me happy. Really, truly happy. Stop and watch the sunset, take your dog for a walk, have a thought-provoking conversation with your spouse, laugh with your friends. Those are a few of my most favorite things to do in the world. The best part is, they’re all free and will leave you feeling more fulfilled than any material item bought out of boredom.
Life is way too damn short to not be 100% true to ourselves. Do what makes you happy, even if it means being a little selfish along the way because the happier you are, all the better person you will be to those around you.