Thursday, July 13, 2006

A self evident unalienable right

Ok, so who else had to deal with an anxiety-ridden dog last night? Those thunderstorms send Z-girl into a spin. If she could strap herself onto a kiddie sling and attach it to my back, she would have. Last night I had a 60 lbs furry shadow following me from the kitchen to the bathroom.

I’m glad my meeting ran over and I didn’t go to the park for the symphony concert.

I’ve been slowly reading the New York Magazine’s article on happiness. Although it’s an interesting read, I still find the whole idea of paying someone to assist me in the pursuit of happiness odd and well backwardly sophisticated.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a life long New Yorker and I will admit that cynicism and sardonicism runs deep in the veins of us Gothamites. I believe that over 50% of us NYC residents are pessimistic and live in a state of negativity. We’re constantly bombarded with inadvertent criticism and comparison. It’s like living in a perpetual high school where self image is assaulted and angst is prevalent.

But do we really need to pay people to tell us how to be happy? Do we need professional mentors and emotional mentors? Did our forefathers begin a movement where happiness is a literal pursuit? Seriously, can a historian tell me if any other country uses comparable terminology in their constitution?

I’ve been to therapy. Name a New Yorker that hasn’t. I’m not knocking therapy. I just can’t grasp the concept of paying someone to teach me to appreciate life. Have we become so obsessed and jaded that we can’t stop and smell the roses?

Granted, I’m only halfway through the article and my opinion may change once I’ve absorbed the entire piece but I’m going to tell you that an article about happiness is really bumming me out.

The first person I thought of when I started reading this article was my mother, of course. Are most New Yorkers living in a perpetual down state? Are we all maniac depressives?

As babies one of the first things we learn is to smile. We learn to giggle and laugh and find enjoyment in the sound of our own joy. When did we lose that?

Is it the more you know the more bitter you become? Is less really more? Should I be more like Jessica Simpson and less Jodi Foster? Maybe my mother’s ‘don’t ask why just do as your told’ mentality produces a more satisfied person.

I don’t know if I’m confusing happiness with satisfaction. I don’t know if you can split the two either. Happiness is subjective. To me happiness is the art of balance. It’s personal satisfaction after reflection. Your body knows happiness; it’s engrained in us. We just need to quiet the outer stimuli and listen.

That’s my Lucy Van Pelt spiel for the day. You can leave the nickel on your way out.

At no point should any of you tease me if you spot me one day attending ‘Happiness for Dummies’ seminar at the New School.

For those who like lists check out New York Magazine's Ben Mathis-Lilley's : Twenty strategies adapted from the scientific research and applied to New York living.

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