Eggs, happiness and integrity

 

Home is where one starts from” ~ T.S. Eliot

 
The end of any vacation is often bittersweet.  Our honeymoon in Thailand was amazing, but it’s back to the reality of being at home.  To be honest, as we pulled into the driveway, I felt happy to be home.  That may have been the delirium of 32 hours of travelling speaking on my behalf, because I can tell you, the weather in Thailand was a lot better than it was the day we arrived.  Plus, I actually had to make breakfast yesterday and when I came home from a family gathering, my bed wasn’t made!  It’s unfortunate because I was getting awfully comfortable with having chefs cook our eggs each morning.  Regardless, I’m happy to be home because I’m eager to tackle some of the areas in my life that need immediate attention.

 
Fortunately for me, I still have 45 days of vacation remaining and ample amounts of time to make some necessary lifestyle changes while I’m not dealing with the hustle and bustle of a busy workday.  In my last post I iterated some of my reasons for wanting to make some changes in my life.  Most notably, I mentioned that I want to live an extraordinary life.  I can already hear the cynics…

How does one live an extraordinary life?

Is there a line that divides ordinary from extraordinary?

How do you know the difference?

You have 45 days of vacation left?!!?

We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released” ~ Jean Houston

I’m really not sure how to truly define what I’m looking for, but I know enough to know that I’m currently not living extraordinary.  Let me elaborate for the sake of clarity. Do not confuse my desire for an extraordinary life with an excessive life.  I’m not seeking fame and fortune, and I don’t associate a good life with such things.  I’m not looking to live an extraordinary life of travel and thrill seeking by jetting around the world on an air balloon or joining the cast of “Deadliest Catch”.

Instead, I’m interested in living the life I was destined to live.  I want to be the best darn Mr. Socrates I can be, and I don’t want to settle for mediocrity if I can.  I want to be as proud of my accomplishments as I am with the manner in which I accomplish them.  I want live a long life that I can be proud of and I want to leave a legacy behind for my children.  I want to be happy.

Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” ~ Aristotle

For centuries, many great minds have devoted their lives the pursuit of happiness, often desperately searching for the secret recipe.  Many philosophers have tried, but none have nailed it down to a science.  If we all knew the secret, they’d be selling it at Walmart.

“Excuse me, where can I find happiness?”

“Down isle 5, next to the scented candles”

I must proceed with caution here because it’s easy to look at my life and think I’m being a tad overzealous.  Much of life is a matter of perspective, and I know that one man’s problem is another man’s prize.  I have many of the ingredients of a great life.  I’m not starving on the streets and I’m not dying of an illness.  I have the love of friends and family and a living room full of wedding gifts we haven’t found a place for.  I am fully aware that I can easily count my blessings.

However, happiness isn’t necessary a matter of what you have, it’s how you feel.  Wait.  Let me clarify.  My philosophical research on the subject, from Plato to Schopenhauer to Nietzsche, in addition to my experience at the “School of Hard Knocks” has led me to the realization that happiness shouldn’t be confused with pleasure.  Happiness isn’t necessarily defined by the feeling you get when you sip a Starbucks latte or a laugh during a rerun of your favorite Simpson’s episode, although they both may help.  Happiness and pleasure should not be confused, because the latte will go cold and the rerun is usually followed by the 6 o’clock news.  Pleasure is fleeting and happiness is here to stay.

The subject is immense and can feel overdrawn and convoluted.  Nevertheless, It’s a subject of great interest to me and I look forward to delving deeper in subsequent posts.

Inevitably, I believe that before we can even enter the debate about what happiness is, it’s important to realize that whatever it ‘is’, it’s unattainable unless an individual believes himself or herself to be happy.  In other words, unless I truly believe that I’m happy, on a steady and consistent basis, I will never be happy.

To be happy with who you are is a concept closely tied to the idea of ‘personal integrity’.
Integrity:

  1. The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
  2. The consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles expectations and outcomes.
  3. The state of being whole and undivided.

Integrity is what we say, what we do, and what we say we do.” ~ Don Galer

I value this word greatly, so greatly that it’s the reason I know that I haven’t truly found happiness, yet.  I believe myself to be an honest and moral individual, relatively speaking of course.  Mr. Socrates is no Mother Theresa, but I try.  However, where I’m lacking is in the relationship between my actions and my values and expected outcomes.  If you have an expectation of the life you wish to lead and you’re not delivering, you’re not going to feel good about yourself.  How can you feel good about the person you are if you aren’t the person you claim to be.  Or worse, you aren’t the person you deserve to be.

As I returned from my trip it was evident to me, perhaps by the 10 pounds I gained while on my honeymoon or returning to a disorganized workspace in my office that I’m not satisfied with certain aspects of my life.  I can’t feel integrity knowing that procrastination has cluttered my life and that stubbornness has led to relationships with unresolved differences.  Despite all the things I’m grateful for, I can’t be happy if I’m not happy with myself.

If anything, returning from a vacation is like returning back to being you, back to routine.  Except, this time it feels different… I feel different.  I feel an overwhelming need to make some changes, to be a Mr. Socrates that I can be happy with.  I want to live extraordinarily and it’s clear that my current mission is to find a sense personal integrity.  My search for wisdom is a search for happiness, a search for integrity.  Truth be told, I already feel a little better getting these thoughts out of my head and onto the screen.

For now, it’s time for me to get on with my day and find the time to sit quietly with myself and think about the aspects of my life that need the most attention.  But first things first, I’ve got to go make my own eggs.

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