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My Quest is Simple

Posted by johnnieraz on February 2, 2025 at 2:35 AM

By John Rezell

      Somewhere along the line joy became my goal in life.

      Not fortune.

      Not fame.

      Simple joy.

      My life has been full of joy nearly nonstop since the day I graduated high school. I wouldn’t trade anything in my life since then — not that I necessarily would trade anything before that because I am the sum of my total life experiences.

      Good and bad.

      Yin and yang.

      I spend most of my days and nights in awe of the life I’ve enjoyed. I call myself an obsessive optimist, always finding the light and denying the dark. Maybe I’ve lived a life of denial and, if so, it has been a wonderful experience that I would recommend highly. Life can be what you want it to be. I want mine to be filled with joy and laughter. And, it is. It’s so by choice.

      Don’t misunderstand me. I’ve had my share of challenges, without question. I'm facing some right now. I’m sure a pessimist — who doesn’t even need be an obsessive pessimist — could pick apart my life and argue that I have little reason to feel joyful. That would be his or her loss, not mine. I just view my life through a different set of measures than most. Many things that keep others awake at night are not worth the time an energy to worry about, so I sleep like a baby.

     Our evolution from survivalists to greedy hoarders hasn't served us well. It seems that for so many individuals, no level of acquisition is ever enough, which I find rather odd since in my mind the only thing worth pursuing — happiness — has no degrees to it. You are either happy or not. You’re not more happier than just happy. And you can’t stockpile it, either.

     Nonetheless many continue to search for happiness in all the wrong manners. Believing that the proper acquisition of a material good or mass of goods will bring the elusive joy.

      What so many people fail to realize is the reality of America's obsession with success. Not simple modest everyday life successes, but extravagant successes. It's as if the simple American Dream of a modest house and a healthy family has been super-sized. The house is never big enough. Relationships are never satisfying enough. Health is vastly overrated until it falters.

     The urge to super-size has overblown America's emphasis on careers as the determination of your identity — of who you are. It blurs the real issue at hand. While it is fantastic if you can love what you do in your career from 9-to-5, true happiness is defined by who you are 5-to-9. In those hours away from your job, with your family, with yourself. That's what defines me.

     We often ask kids growing up the question: What do you want to be when you grow up?

     We seldom promote the answer: I want to be happy.

     A career, just like alcohol, drugs, sex or gambling, can be addictive.

     Career addiction can take over a life. You need more and more and more out of your career. Nothing will ever be enough. You're so addicted that you cannot see the damage you are doing to your family, even though you probably defend your actions by saying you are doing it for your family.  You leave before they wake up and return after they've gone to bed. You might as well have spent that time in a bar or casino.

     Just as parents want the best of everything for their children, children want everything for their parents. One can define that "everything" in a number of manners. I just prefer to define it as happiness

     And ask me who I am? I'm a Dad.

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