Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness

Minato recounts a conversation with a friend, a political refugee from Guatemala, in which the friend tells how her daughter never seems satisfied with what she has, she always wants something else. She says "we are safer here, and healthier even, but we did lose something coming to this country. We lost contentment. Here we are guaranteed the 'pursuit' of happiness. And you know what? I am tired of chasing it."

There is always something more we want. What will make us happier? It is a question I often ask myself when I am contemplating a purchase: Will I be a happier person if I own this? In most cases the answer is no. Two major exceptions that come to mind are the new bathroom (see previous post) and my bed. I think it is especially hard to raise children in a culture where more and bigger is always seen as better. Even in a recession it doesn't slow down. Even without commercial television my daughter always seems to know what the must-have items are. I wonder if she will ever tire of the pursuit of happiness, and just be happy.

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