Friday, January 22, 2010

Happiness, a very subjective topic

Mom used to raise her hands up to the sky and lift her head high and pray for us to become rich. She always said that money helps people become happy.  Any parent who loves their children would want the best for them, to the best of their knowledge.

Dad got diagnosed with cancer seven months ago and left us now. I keep on thinking, if I had millions of dollars, I still wouldn’t be able to save his life, lessen his pain, make him happy, make my mother and sisters happy. My family lives overseas, I visited twice last year to be with them and I realized how great the support around dad was, my sisters came every day, my brothers in law were always ready for help. Yet no amount of money would have changed the situation. We are blessed with the love we have for each other, that makes us rich, that made a difference in the last days of a man who had his share of pain dying a little every day, he was not put in a far away hospital with a nurse and a doctor whom he never met in his life, he died on his own bed amongst his wife, daughters and youngest sister.

Twenty one days ago was the start of 2010, when I made a phone call to wish my family a happy new year, Dad was still alive, very weak though. I talked with everyone and wished them all a better year, I asked mom to give dad a kiss for me and to tell him how much I love him. My sister said “let’s put the handset close to dad’s ear and have him hear it directly from you”, they did, when I talked back with mom, she was crying, my sisters were crying. Mom said “Happy new year babe, I wish you a better year; I want you to be happy, be healthy and you’re rich, it’s my # 1 wish for all of you this year”. Those were mom’s words as she’s approaching her sixty, the very same woman who always prayed for her children to be rich.

Happiness for me is different of course from others’, we all have different priorities, different abilities to adapt to our reality. As I mentioned before, I love people, but I don’t need to constantly be around them every day. I need my space for my writings, to meditate, to relax, I can not not have a "me" time. One of my friends for example has different needs, he can not be isolated for a full day from people, he breathes conversations, interactions and he requires attention. That’s what makes him happy. So the question is, is there a recipe for happiness? Yes and no, it’s different from one person to another, but the key is knowing yourself to know what makes you happy. Mine is simple, balanced social life, balanced working hours, good healthy food and fun outdoor activities cut it for me. Money? I love to be able to afford all of the above and I’m happy, what am I going to do with the surplus? I’m sure you all have your ideas, hey, I have lots of those too, but it ain't gonna make me happy for a long time.