Not quite so happy anymore

“I didn’t change at all” says Tsubaki, the guy driving the bike. Hikaru, in the back, learned something from every win and every loss. That was the difference between them.

I have been … boasting, or something close to it, about my super happiness for a long time, haven’t I? Recently, I have gradually come to notice that I am not so happy anymore. The intense pangs of joy that seemed inexplicable, they have pretty much stopped. And I don’t feel so upbeat in my day to day life either. Not the constant euphoria.

That is not to say that I am unhappy, or sad, or lonely, or depressed. Far from it. I just feel more… human. I am not sure I can achieve anything more. I am not sure I can make progress. When I look at my recent history, it seems like I am standing still, at best. Or going forward and then back again. I am pacing back and forth in a nice spot, I guess, but it was not quite this I hoped for.

I wanted to get better at my job. Actually, I wanted to get really good at my job. Not to get more pay or a finer title or any of that, but simply to be able to solve more problems for people. I am happy to say that I got an opportunity early this month, when I got to assist the other team for some days when they were swamped because of an external problem. That was nice. But overall, looking back over the last couple years, there is very little progress. I have not really become much better at solving problems in my work. A little, I would say, but it is at a snail’s pace at best. It was not this I hoped for, or intended.

When I look at my personal life, it is much the same. I had hoped to be a better person by now. A purer, less selfish person. Someone able to bless other people rather than thinking about my own wants and wishes. Someone taking up less and giving more. I had hoped to be someone who had the wisdom to help others. But very little has happened. I am not really active in goodness.

I’d like to think it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m no longer living in a small house in the countryside but in an apartment right under asylum seekers or some such which shout and play weird music, sometimes till 2AM on weekday nights. According to my understanding of how the world works, such things should not influence one’s happiness at all. It all depends on the way one reacts. What is a challenge to the worldly person should be an opportunity to refine the soul for those who seek the things above. I just don’t have quite the heart for soul refinery that I thought I had before it was put to the test, I guess!

I mean, a gospel that brings happiness to the rich and those who have good neighbors is not much to write about, is it? The apostles of Jesus Christ sang praises from prison. Socrates and the Buddha used their last minutes to comfort their friends. I just don’t see myself in their place.

That said, to repeat myself, I am not depressed here. Just not ecstatically joyful, see? When I look at the writings of my online friends, or talk with people at work, I realize that I am blessed indeed. I wish I could reduce their unnecessary suffering and turn it to joy. But this is exactly what I cannot do. And so I become like stagnant water, I think. Surely there must be ways to bless others without sharing heavenly secrets that are above my pray grade. Well, I suppose my plan for that was to increase my pray grade, but it is easier said than done… Then again, it was always very easily said, wasn’t it?

5 thoughts on “Not quite so happy anymore

  1. There are just some places, some people, and some things that can’t be helped, no matter how you try. Changing the internal so that you have a different outlook on the external is the only way to tolerate such things, I suppose. That doesn’t mean that the setting in which you live, especially as regards the neighbors, is something you must come to love and see as beautiful. Sometimes the fact is that your surroundings simply DO make a huge difference. You were not seeking riches or luxury, but nearness to nature. I do hope that you will soon be able to find another place that gives you adequate solitude with easy access to civilization. Sometimes this is simply necessary, no matter who you are. Isn’t it?

    • Yes, surroundings make a difference. I am still wondering whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. I think that depends on a person’s aspirations. I am once again reminded of the rough division of humans into three categories: Those of the flesh, of the soul, and of the spirit. The carnal man lives for the pleasures of the flesh only, the psychic man lives for the joy of beauty, and the spiritual man lives for the happiness of the spirit.

      Despite my occasional delusion to the contrary, I just am not a spiritual person. This becomes obvious when my life is put to even a small test such as this. Well, that is just how it is for now. At least it is better to know where I stand, rather than to fantasize that the joy of the soul is the blessedness of the spirit.

      But the changes in the outward things also makes it harder for me to say for sure whether I am going the right way or the wrong way in the inner world. I need to reflect more on this.

      • Christ went to the wilderness to seek . . . well, just to seek and be tested . . . presumably because everyday life and the people living it and making demands upon him were distracting. You are fortunate to live in a beautiful nation with plenty of “alone space” available, more or less. As long as the beauty of the scenery is not your _aim_ for its own sensory enjoyment, living in it to appreciate and praise God’s goodness and splendour does seem a spiritual action. Doesn’t it?

        • In this regard, there is a phrase by the apostle Paul, that one eats and thanks God, and another does not eat and thanks God. I don’t have a problem with the first part. It is when I can not “eat”, that is to say, enjoy something good and harmless in this world, to then be just as thankful; that is where I question my heart.

  2. Stop what you are doing.
    Cash all your savings.
    Buy a ticket to China.
    Meet me at the airport.
    Travel, meet, learn and help people.
    Hang around with those special people who kind of understand you.
    Feel the change in your life.
    If you dont like it go back.

    I spent most of my life in an enviroment where I just couldnt find happiness.
    I lacked the people I needed around me, and the enviroment that stimulated me.
    One day I moved away. And it seems like it was my destiny. I found people that i felt a connection with. I found out im most happy when i can be of any help for others. Its never too late. But its just hard to give up everything we are used to, and that safety we feel when we are somewhere we grew up. I dont know, im just babbling.

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