Contingent Happiness

— Not even close to the real thing

A morsel of wisdom I picked up from the beach...

Yesterday I realized how much happiness is free from contingencies.

I watched the first four episodes of Big Little Lies where there are several million dollar beach front homes. Many scenes involve someone looking out at the water--exactly what you'd imagine if you were 'lucky' enough to have a million dollar mansion.

Looking onto the water is a specific activity... If I were to feel happy in these homes, I'd have to spend time staring at the water. There's work involved--is it really happiness if I have to live out the details in a specific way? The characters themselves were having a hard time enjoying their lives because they were spending energy living out specifics: appearing as a good mother, appearing as if in a perfect relationship or appearing as a successful career woman. 'Enjoying' a preferred lifestyle seems to require some sort of enslavement.

I was reminded of my trip to the beach last month. I wanted to see the ocean so badly because I hadn't seen it in a while. On our four hour drive over, I imagined a nice stroll on the beach with my husband.

When we got there, it wasn't anything outside what I expected. It was a nice beach, but I felt obligated to enjoy it in the way I anticipated. 'Let's walk on the beach and ENJOY!'

After sometime, I realized how hard I was working and decided to turn around. We drove to a trail more inland. I didn't know what the hike was going to look like. There were no ideas on how it should be enjoyed so I ended up enjoying it a lot more.

It's funny because with desire, there's this idea that I know what it's like. I know enough of the specifics that I can desire something. When I'm on my way towards it, during my anticipation, I'm living through the good parts in my mind. When I get there, I've already been there. Do I have to relive it in physical form? Such a chore.



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