When Enough Isn’t Enough – can we ever truly be happy?

I went to Starbucks the other day (okay, I go every day…I’m an addict, so sue me), and overheard a conversation between a woman and a man. As a writer, this is what I do. Eavesdrop, but only with the best of intentions. Listening to other peoples’ conversations is how you learn about tone, and body language, and emotional conflict so your dialogue is as realistic as it can be on the page. It also gives you insight into how people think. And what they worry about.

Anyway, this man and this woman were discussing a little league baseball game they were attending this weekend. And they started talking about the other parents there, and one couple in particular. About the new car they had. The big house they had. The vacations these people took. Blah blah blah. And I started thinking… this kind of stuff is all around us, each and every day. We are bombarded with messages about what we need (that we don’t), what we should have (that isn’t necessary) and how our looks, life, or any other fill-in-the-blank isn’t as good as someone else’s. You see it on magazine racks (can anyone say Kardashian?) and on television and in the movies.

It’s freaking everywhere.

So I got to thinking. Can we ever truly be happy when we’re constantly bombarded with reminders of what we’re not or what we haven’t got?

Not to knock the media or anything, but they’re not helping. Watch any television program and tell me what you see. Does anyone look real anymore? Does anyone act real anymore? Those people are out there, but they seem to be a dying breed. At least when it comes to what we’re exposed to, and it’s become noise. It also, unfortunately, sends a subconscious message to each of us that something about us should be changed because we’re not one of the “beautiful people”.

Blech.

So how do we find our way back to ourselves? To who we really are? It’s fun to watch television or movies, or to read a tabloid or magazine, but who is it really helping? Not us, that’s for sure. Some folks abandon the media altogether when they feel overloaded or overwhelmed by it all. In my case, I focus more intently on meditation to clear my mind. It’s a balance, and not always an easy one to find, especially when social media puts so much of this at your fingertips in seconds flat.

What do you think? Can we ever truly be happy despite all the noise that’s preying on the insecurities of the average person? Which, in case you haven’t noticed, 99% of us are. Average, that is.

I’d love to know.

Copyright ยฉ 2013 ยท All Rights Reserved ยท TerriPonce.com

About terriponce

I write about twists, turns, past lives and suspense.
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20 Responses to When Enough Isn’t Enough – can we ever truly be happy?

  1. Interesting and thought provoking post. I think a lot of us have helped fuel this need for more and more stuff, without really being aware of it When I see how much my young relatives get at Christmas and birthdays, but can still argue over who has got the best mobile phone, I do wonder how sustainable it all is. But we adults have been the ones who give it to them? We do it out of love, but is it really helping them work out what is really important in life? As I get older, the more I see that too many possessions can just weigh you down and trap you in a job or relationship you no longer want. It’s all about balance, although I still have crates and crates of books stored away!

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  2. Susan Utz says:

    http://youtu.be/sjzinJ4QeHo “Simple Pleasures are the Best”
    from Cousin Susan

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  3. lashumway says:

    Yep, it’s an attitude. You’ve gotta love what you have. Personally, I love having 5 kids, driving a 10-year-old van that’s quirky with lots of miles, but it goes, and knowing that I have brothers and sisters around the country who would always be happy to see me if I showed up on their doorstep.

    I love watching the Little League games my son plays, too–and some of those people with the house 10 times the size of mine and the newest SUVs are actually very nice people(and some of them aren’t, but that’s their loss). Not to say I don’t get stressed out, but when I take a second to step back and really look at things, I realize I’ve got it pretty good.

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    • terriponce says:

      I love all the comments, on and offline, that this post is generating. It also seems to have hit a note with people. Sometimes I look back on my life and think about all the time I wasted and stress I felt over not having what I thought I should have. Lessons learned, courtesy of wisdom earned over the years. Thanks for stopping by, Lynn. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. R.T. Wolfe says:

    I’ve had the rare opportunity to live on both ends, so I know things don’t make you happy. I suppose everyone figures it out eventually … one way or another. ๐Ÿ™‚
    -R.T. Wolfe

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  5. Terri,
    I find that the older I get, the less I care about what other people have. Recently I’ve seen too much of people dying and being seriously ill. I truly enjoy the simpler things in life, though I agree with you re good wine, good books, and I love to travel.

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  6. My husband and I decided to go the voluntary simplicity route – to the nth degree. I left my company right ahead of a major restructuring. My husband wasn’t happy with his job either though we both knew where we were most happy. I left my job, cashed in my stocks, and bought acreage. We built an independent house in a remote location and we’ve never been happier. The money will never be close to what we earned when we lived in the city but we’re content, and we raised our kids in a very family friendly, grounded way, removed from the trappings of modern consumer culture. It wasn’t always easy, but it forced us to pitch in and tough it out. I’m so proud of my kids and seeing their tenacity and work ethic after what we expected from them growing up is icing on the cake, There’s no way I’d change a thing. They understand the value of a dollar and can and do appreciate the little things.

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    • terriponce says:

      I’m still amazed by the decision you made and the course you took, Tara. That takes real dedication and a mindset that most would give up probably too quickly. Hate to say it, but it makes for a great story, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Tara hats off to you. Nothing delights me more that people who walk their talk, for nothing else is real. What we say versus what we do is the ultimate contradiction most people live in and happiness does not live there. The gift you gave your children of a life that offered them realistic experiences so they could get to know themselves, their strengths, their areas of challenge…what a gift. Would that more people have your courage of conviction. It’s a far more satisfying path.

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  7. My husband and I have deliberately chosen a simpler lifestyle. (We homeschool our kids who are teens and live in an apartment.) Since we are a one-income family, we have had financial struggles. But, I believe they have made us closer as a family. My 16 and 13 year olds are not into the newest fads and are happy with what they have.

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  8. nora snowdon says:

    interesting post, terri. one of the nicer things about getting older is i’m not fooled by advertisers telling me I need more things. I hoard books and wine, and the rest of the material goods they’re pitching, I can quite easily ignore. glad I don’t have kids wanting all the new, trendy stuff.

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    • terriponce says:

      I hoard wine and books, too! and bottles of fine scotch… I agree, too, that with age comes wisdom and it’s nice to know that, at some point, you really don’t care what others think anymore. But I gotta admit, all these bombarding messages can be hard to ignore.

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  9. Terri, I concur. I’ve found happiness when I’m walking with my husband and my dogs. I also love beachcombing, and because of the rugged conditions on the coast in the Pacific Northwest, I wear “rags” when on the shore (only tourists wear their designer duds here, which immediately get trashed by rain, wind, and sea plankton stains). I’ve found it’s the simple things that bring the most joy.

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