Archive for April, 2015

Why I Won’t Date the Girl Who Travels: A Guide to Happiness

17 Apr

Recently, I came upon a piece in the Huffington post entitled Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels in the Huffington post also provided a link to the author’s webpage.

The piece itself is a sarcastic and sort of tongue and cheek piece about why one should not date a girl who travels because this girl is too busy enjoying life and doing her to be interested in a conventional relationship or any societal norm in truth. After reading the piece and viewing the author’s website it is clear that while she is certainly doing her, there was also something about this piece and the type of person(s) exemplified by the writing that prompted me to write.

In case you have not read the piece, the author jabs at the most onerous aspects of traditional society and these of course include; having gainful employment, practicing within your field of study, a rooted existence, being there for ones’ family etc.- all in an attempt to sell or at least justify to herself a life whereby one flies by the seat of their pants, has no attachment to anything or anyone, and does nothing aside from what they want to do and when they want to do it. Upon reading this work, I could not help but think, ‘you know who else wants type of lifestyle? A petulant child’.  However I thought that the difference between being an adult and being a child is that the former is supposed to have some sense and some responsibility. Do not get me wrong though, while I agree with some of the things the author advocate such as travel, not being pigeon-holed with one’s degree, and trying new and interesting things, it is the tone and the overall message that I took issue with. Why you may ask? It probably has something to do with the seemingly endless “me-first” and “do-you messages” we are regularly bombarded with despite the fact that this type of mentality rarely (if ever) leads to any sort of lasting happiness. If it did the world would not be filled with so many dissatisfied and unhappy people and society as a whole would not constantly be demanding change.

In this day and age it is not uncommon to come upon certain people who seem obsessed with perpetually trying new things. Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying new things, but it is the obsession aspect that is both peculiar and troubling. In my experience the common thread amongst these sorts of people is that they are desperate to find meaning and enjoyment from life externally without first looking and building themselves up from within. Somehow they have convinced themselves that the relentless pursuit of any and all things that may tickle their fancy will miraculously give them the inner peace and satisfaction they crave without actually focusing on what actually renders happiness. And that magical key is of course inner strength. Once again, in no way am I against new experiences, but life is truly about balance and as such to constantly seek fulfilment externally is to commit yourself to a life of soul searching without having first having a soul. There is a reason why people who do as they please are never truly happy and always looking for more, and the reason is simple; life and happiness are not rooted in people living for themselves and their selfish passions.

I am always amazed when people who can be so accomplished and so well educated are still so mystified by what it takes to be happy and what the meaning of life is. For whatever reason it seems elemental that happiness and the meaning of life are not two separate explorations, but rather that they are intrinsically linked and that the answer for both is to do for others while simultaneously trying to lead as moral (though not necessarily religious) a life as possible.

You may call me naïve or you may call me misguided (or worse), but the proof for which I advocate is all around. There is a reason why some poor and rich people are happy, and there is also a reason why some poor and rich people are not-and the reason is this; those people who are in life only for the pursuit of their self-interests-whether it be money, business, material goods, sexual conquests, intoxicants, social standing, acts of intolerance, hatred and/or oppression or whatever-are more often than not left sad, bitter, damaged, and unfulfilled precisely because life is not about doing you or living for oneself. Rather it is about doing for those around you and governing yourself in a manner that enables you to proudly look into the mirror each day. The peace that comes from, as I like to call it, living happy enables one to first have inner strength as their foundation and from there they are able to sensibly prioritize their life and truly appreciate and enjoy all the things and adventures life has to offer. In essence, they are prepared to attain what so many people are lacking from their lives; satisfaction. In essence happiness can be determined simply by examining what type of person one is or chooses to be; a me-first taker or an others first giver. The latter coupled with a moral compass is almost always a happy and fulfilled person and you do not have to take my word for it as the proof is all around us.

In truth what also compelled me to write on this topic is that there was also a story published recently about a person, not too dissimilar from the author of the Don’t Date piece. This young lady had recently died attempting a very bizarre yet supposedly cathartic experience in South America

This person, much like many of the chronically unsatisfied who seek validation externally, was on one of her many self-exploration trips when she decided to enter into some sort of bizarre tribal ritual whereby she ingested something deep in the jungles of South America that was to supposed conduce vomiting and at the end of the vomiting spell, give her greater perspective in life. Tragically, she did not stop vomiting and after a prolonged vomiting fit she died right there in the middle of the Peruvian jungle leaving her life lost and her family forever in mourning. Although it is fortunate that most me-first people do not perish under tragic circumstances, what makes this tragedy relevant to my larger point is that still, often enough, the mindset which pushes people to do as they please not only costs them their chance at true happiness and time on this earth, but forever robs their family and those who love them of their peace and happiness as well as they are forced to spend a lifetime grieving over one person’s reckless (and selfish) decisions. In truth doing you often has far more reaching consequences than just you, and it is something everyone should keep in mind.

I will close by stating that happiness and fulfilment in the truest sense is absolutely possible even in the society and time in which we live, but that again, it does not come externally or in the relentless and/or reckless pursuit of whatever one desires. The world is a beautiful and wonderful place filled with many interesting experiences but only from the practice of doing for others and living a moral life will one ever be able to not only fully appreciate the world, but derive happiness from it.

As such, I will say to everyone live happy, have conviction, and do for others as much as possible; be it donating your time and/or money to those less fortunate, preparing a meal with your own hands for your family and friends, be good to your spouse or partner even when you may not feel like it, keep the promises you make to your children, read the works of great writers or even the biographies of great people and be inspired, and above all else do your best to be positive and willing to lend a helping a hand to anyone who needs it without expecting anything in return. Happiness is its own reward, and the greatest reward imaginable. As for not dating the girl who travels, thanks I won’t.

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