“The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee happiness…only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” -Ben Franklin
I think Ole Ben has this right. In this hard world, with so much opportunity for stress……we need to really love some of the things that we do regularly. Not every thing we do, of course….most people will never love doing laundry or going to the dentist. But to find happiness, we need to find something that we enjoy and make time to DO IT. But we might need to work on making this happen. As Ole Ben said, we need to catch up with happiness on our own.
On the pursuit of happiness, one of Josh’s college classmates was recently sharing his plans for the future with us. Turns out that this young man’s father, a physician, had always pushed him toward a career in medicine. But in the interest of finding himself, this boy had explored different subjects and felt that medicine was just not a good fit. I asked how his father had taken the news.
“You know,” he told me, “I have to do what is right for me…..I just have to follow my passion.” Now with a response like that, you are probably expecting to hear that the kid is now studying dance, or art, or photography, right? Or maybe puppeteering or the best way to raise and care for alpacas…..and you’re wondering if his Dad approves.
Our free spirit student continued….”So I told my father that I need to do what I love. So I am majoring in…. international business.”
Joe and I smiled. “I hope your Dad is not too disappointed,” I chuckled.
For this young man, he may have gotten lucky. If he has found a career path that might give him joy…..well for him, a business degree might be that key to happiness. For others, following our passion might not happen in our everyday employment……we might need to seek happiness in smaller acts, like this fellow…..
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Recently,teenagers in my neighborhood have been reporting sightings of a phenomenon that seems just as elusive as Big Foot. Sightings are rare and those reporting them have been heavily scrutinized. Did they REALLY see what they say they saw? At first, it seemed a little bit like urban legend to me.
Then one day about a month ago, Joe saw him! Not a hairy 7-foot monster. Instead, a gentleman….in a tall silk top hat, peddling along on his old-timey bicycle, a penny-farthing….the type of bike with the really big front wheel. And he was looking as if he time-traveled from a leisurely ride on a country road during the turn of the century. But he wasn’t on a country road! He was in my suburban neighborhood in New Jersey and he was riding along with no regard to the stares.
I wondered about this man with the unusual pastime. Who is he? And is his big wheeled bike his way of catching up with his own happiness? So since Joe’s sighting, I’ve been obsessed with seeing the man myself. I’ve quizzed the neighbors….I’ve harassed the teens. And in my imagination, when I’ve pictured him riding, I’ve tacked on a musical soundtrack. Sometimes it is the piano classic “The Entertainer”……other times it is the music of a street organ, complete with an organ grinder and monkey.
Now as the neighborhood stories spread, the man turned out not to be alone! Reports surfaced of our gentleman peddling along….followed closely by a child! And to add to the mystery, this child rode along on a smaller, but identical, old-timey bicycle and was wearing a matching, but mini, silk top hat!
Then yesterday, it finally happened. My whole family was driving along Broad Street and THERE HE WAS! Peddling along as if this was just any other day! Three of us started screaming and yelling in the van! Joe just looked and smiled. I begged Joe to turn that van around and follow our man of mystery….I had so many questions!
But Joe, alas…. believes in letting people follow their passions in peace. As I looked back, I saw that the man had a quiet smile on his face. He looked happy.
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So what will it take to follow your own passion? A career in international business? A nice hobby or two where you get to have fun on weekends? Or a vintage bicycle and a silk top hat? WHATEVER IT IS…….GO FIND IT!