A person near and dear to us said that she had not had a merry Christmas in 11 years. I began to think about what it was that makes people happy. I guess that led me to looking at myself in the mirror and trying to describe what makes me happy.

Let me say that I know there are people out there that have had traumatic events happen to them in life. I have been shot at with the best of them and had life drain out of a friend as he died in my arms. I spent a year right in the middle of the prime of my life in Vietnam and away from the arms of my loving wife. I guess I could probably fall into that blue funk if I allowed it to overtake me.

In 1975 I was a probation officer in Leavenworth. One day a local bar tender called me and said that one of my probationers was just on the cusp of having his ass hauled in for being drunk and angry. That bar was just down the street from the courthouse where I worked so I walked down to see what the problem was. My friend, a Marine in WWII was standing by the bar waiving a beer mug telling everyone that he got a raw deal because he was on Guadalcanal and had to fight hard to stay alive. I walked over and told him to sit down and shut up while I shared with him a few things. I was back from Vietnam just a short 5 years earlier and I had dedicated my life to those friends I had died there in the jungle. He wasn't the only poor dumb son of a bitch that had to fight and he needed to find a way to deal with it. Hell, his war had been over for 30 years and if he couldn't deal with it he needed to trot his ass down to VA and get some help. He damned sure wasn't going to find the answer at the bottom of a Beer Mug. Later on that week his wife and I drove him to Valley Hope for their alcohol program. They came to my office and thanked me for that blinding flash of the obvious. Do what you did and you get what you got.

One of the first steps for me was to stop drinking. I was dealing with stress with a beer chaser. WRONG! I decided that the dose of reality I needed was that happiness started and stopped with me. If I couldn't get over being the "poor me" I would be trapped in a lifetime of sadness. I have worked hard to work hard and stay that way. I read books, listen to music, work on old cars and cook. Man if that isn't enough, I just find something else to do on the long list of things that could be done. I will admit that my loving wife and great finances makes it all better, but that alone is not the answer. Mom had a poster on the back of the bathroom door that said, "Happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have." It is a blinding flash of the obvious that things just won't cure what ails us.

What makes you happy?


1 comment:

  1. Good post, MUD. At the end, you ask, "What makes you happy?"

    I won't answer in a comment. But, I appreciate you posing the question. It made me answer it...to myself.

    Thanks, man.