As a society, we’re ever set on greener pastures. It’s a symptom of the larger illness: how we’ve prioritized material wealth and status above the virtues of fellowship, love, respect and happiness. Success and money don’t guarantee happiness. The most recent example of which I can recall is Markus Persson—aka “Notch”—expressing, via Twitter, the isolation and festering apathy he’d begun to feel as a freshly-minted billionaire.
“Boo-friggin’-hoo!” I know, that was my first reaction, too, though it’s not the correct one. After pondering the news, I reached for my humanity, and reinforced my belief that nearly all God’s creatures, regardless of their societal status, are worthy of my understanding, and, if deserved, sympathy. I hope that Markus manages to find the connection that he’s missing in his life: a human connection. I’m sure that he could use his billions—since money is really just opportunity—to embark on a new, fulfilling and philanthropic adventure.
For the rest of us non-billionaires, analyzing our fortunes and managing our dreams occurs in smaller degrees. Our options are, generally, fewer when compared to what billionaires decide to accomplish on a whim. The walls between us and our dreams can seem towering and insurmountable. Our strides look pitiable next to the movements of demi-Gods whose trials, selfies, and Twitter feeds are obsessed upon and analyzed like lines of unearthed holy-scripture. “Thou shall not worship false idols.” Well, unfortunately, we do. We’ve become a Church of Man, more than a Church of God/ Gaea/ Spirit. For a while—and all through the 80’s, 90’s and into 2K—humans perfected their obsession with “self”. Today, self-empowerment, hyper-achievement, and the reinvention of our homes, jobs, marriages and bodies are the miracles for which we pray.
Nothing is ever good enough. It’s no wonder that so many of us are miserable or feeling unfulfilled. That so many of us cannot find peace in a career, relationship, or home. Innumerable blessings in our lives are devoured as quickly as they appear, by the voracious monster inside of ourselves that can never be sated: the not-good-enough-beast (like the Babadook, but nastier). For the overarching narrative to our existence is that whatever you have, there should be more. Whatever your aspirations, they must be grander. If you have a billion dollars, get working on a trillion, you broke-ass-waste-o-space. It’s grotesque, really, and I’m astonished that we haven’t reverted to the practice of entombing our possessions upon death like the Pharaohs of yore. Consumerism and capitalism can be blamed, to an extent. Although, corporations are composed people, and people are subject to the same blind fever for consumption that has afflicted the rest of the human race.
I’m not suggesting that we all live in a commune in the woods, mindfully meditate 24/7, and never demand anything beyond serenity (that could, however, be one person’s path to greatness—though it’s not mine). I am suggesting that we define what greatness means, beyond our indoctrination from a society that has embraced hubris and self-worship. Greatness, to me, means having a life of which I’m proud. Greatness, to me, means having a life in which regrets are minimized and moments of joy and appreciation are maximized. Greatness, to me, means that I haven’t crapped on the world, my values or my loved-ones to accomplish my dreams. Gratefulness begets greatness, and a victory won in ruin isn’t the victory for me. Lastly, greatness means that if I somehow chance upon a billion dollars, I’m going to do something amazing with it—more than buy a massive house, plastic friends, free-range emus and several pools filled with champagne.
We can be sad, or we can be alive. We can be regretful, or we can be grateful. The choice is ultimately ours—not society’s. How do you and will you define greatness? That answer will lay the bricks on your road to happiness. Today, I am grateful for the sun—a beautiful morning shines and sings in my window. I am also thankful that my darling cat, who was ill on Friday, and is now in perfect health after a few days of tense veterinary drama. Furthermore, I am delighted, as always, to be writing for you and I. The unpleasant, clichéd truth that needs to be trotted out once more, is that our lives are shaped by our choices, or from how we’ve decided to perceive, react to, and learn from those choices (as well as events beyond our control).
As long as you’re alive, this glorious, painful game of human reinvention—the healthy kind—can continue. Make another choice. Find your balance. Seek out the Divine in nature. Appreciate the breath in your lungs, the person with whom you should probably stop arguing and kiss, or the job that—even though it’s not thrilling—pays the bills and will one day lead you to do what you’ve defined as your greatness. I wish you well in your journey.
All my love,