Are there...?

Burbank, California; March,2003;
Joan Marques, MBA, Doctoral Student

Are there really people who have it all---a happy family, a nice car, a cozy home, a great job, and a superb health? And if they exist, what do they think? Is there still something left for them to desire, or are they satisfied with their life as it is? And if they are satisfied with their life as it is, do they feel bored? And if they feel bored, do they abreact on their loved ones? And if they abreact on their loved ones, do those get upset? And if the loved ones get upset, are they understanding enough, or does that create a distance? And if a distance is created, is the family still happy?

Okay, this sounds like a very depressed look at life, doesn't it? Well, it may have to do with the mirror I keep in front of my own life and the conclusions I draw from it. Itís so easy to wonder if everyone perceives life as a morass of troubles at times, or if there are some who are really entirely free of those troubles, year in, year out.

Is money the solution? Maybe not. But it sure makes a lot of things easier. And yet, there will be plenty of people, including yours truly, that will state right away that money is not the source of happiness. It's just a tool of convenience. Indeed. After all we've seen so many movies and read so many books where wealthy people end up being extremely unhappy. We've also heard too often that rich people don't know whether they should trust the ones that approach them, because they are unsure whether the affection offered is for them or for their money. So, money is not really the key here.

Is health the solution? Well, I guess the ones who are in great shape will be pleased about that, but I've never seen somebody running around with a broad smile all the time just because he or she is healthy. That may lead to the conclusion that even good health is something we accept as a given once we have it, while we immediately start looking for the next good thing to obtain. So health is a nice key, but not the one that leads to entire contentment.

Is family the solution? Perhaps. But then you have to keep your fingers crossed that your children develop exactly the way you'd like: that they go to college and become something good, even if they don't earn a title in front of their names. But all too often there is at least one lamb in the herd that will choose to wander. And that's where anxiety might kick in. For who knows what this one will encounter and where he or she will end up? And even if the kids are not the problem, the spouse may ultimately become it. How? Maybe by being as bored (or more bored) as you are with the "perfect" life, and finding him- or herself a new challenge out there, whether it's another lover, another hobby, or anything else that will ultimately lead to distance.

Is a nice home the solution? And a nice car? Partly. But they are practically meaningless if one is always lonely, even if there's money enough on the bank account and in the pocket.

Is a great job the solution? As partly as the home and the car, I guess. For that too is something you want to share with someone special in your life.

In conclusion: happiness is an entanglement of issues. The blend may change from person to person, but the fact of the matter remains that there is no single element that carries sole responsibility toward happiness. Another fact is, that once all facets are achieved, one has nothing to search for anymore. And if this happens too early in one's life, an unexpected leap in an unexpected dark can surely be expected.

So maybe happiness should be the everlasting unknown. The exotic stranger whose face you never entirely see, yet whom you will always attempt to catch a glimpse of.