The Underdog Triumphs

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Great Happiness Debate

I had a debate last night with Mr. 007--that's double-O-seven, as in like "Bond, James Bond." I call him that for his similar sounding last name, and because he's sort of an(inter)national man of mystery--or is that Austin Powers?

So we debated love and happiness, as separate entities, and together. He doesn't think people are genuinely happy and that we are all broken in some way. Together we've been reading "The Art of Happiness" by the Dalai Lama, and he was comparing to that level of happiness--which according to the Lama is obtainable by training the mind. He asked me how many genuinely happy people do I know.

It's a complicated question and answer. A few people come to mind. But then again, I know that they have struggles, their lives are not perfect, and they--as we all--have had to perservere to overcome obstacles. Truth be told, I'm not in their mind, I don't know how truly happy they really are. But they have that something in their life--they are close to their families, have an active social life, generally don't "sweat the small stuff," and are just filled with goodness.

Maybe happiness is defined how we want it to be defined. For example, I want all the things I have just listed and assume, that if I had all these things, plus a mate, I would be happy.

And that's the other thing: are couple's really happier than the rest of us?

While finding a mate may bring us great pleasure, it is not a guarantee for lasting happiness. He kept reiterating that 50% of marriages end in divorce. He, like I assume most, is most afraid of what happens when you run out of things to talk about. And that's when the professionals would tell you to try and do things to "spice things up." But it's a perfectly valid fear as wires fizzle and connections sometimes break overtime.

We talked about the types of couples we know. The young 20-something couples I know are glowing and hopeful about what their future holds. 007's 30-something couples, have been married 5-10 years, may have some toddlers in tow, and the couple's have already lost their "mojo," or as 007 suspects, they may they never had it to begin with.

Life is all about perspective.

There are no right or wrong answers in this debate of love and happiness. But is 007 right, are we all broken in a way? We have all had to deal with shit. Deal with disappointments, rejections, loss, hate, loneliness--these massive life events have changed us at our core. Made us more suspicious, less open, plain sad--look at all the negative terms I've used in the last 2 sentences.

I do believe--or really want to believe that like the Dalai Lama, that with some mindful training, I can overcome the negative and turn it positive. I may be broken in ways, but I truly believe I'm not beyond repair.

And 007, he's not either.


Blogger Fizz said...

I too often feel damaged... mourn my "loss of innocence." I fear the toll these feelings take on my relationship with my boyfriend. So, as cheesy at it sounds, I just try to smile a lot. And try to consiously resolve these issues I've been left with. It doesn't seem fair, really--having never asked to be broken. But the results of how we deal with it, perhaps, is the difference between cynicism and wisdom. I'm hoping to come out of this all the wiser... with Boyfriend in tow.

1:01 PM  

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