The Pursuit of Happiness

The pursuit of happiness was one of the most important ideas agreed upon by the Founding Fathers. Yet as a society, and especially as a professional military, our way of life reviles that pursuit, even if our words say otherwise. Happiness is not playing Angry Birds or staying up-to-speed with your favorite show. For some it may be, and if that is there truth then those who disagree, like myself, ought to tolerate such a benign happiness as the free choice of people. We are so caught up in more stuff, more money, higher positions that I think the pursuit of more has replaced the pursuit of happiness.

It’s not that more can’t lead to happiness, or enhance it; but when you continually bypass current amenities (whether it be a walk in the park, leisure reading or a light but enjoyable conversation with someone) for another hour at work or the gym in order to make yourself more competitive, then I suggest you are no longer truly pursuing happiness; but, instead, have placed progress and producing over happiness. I am not espousing a lazy attitude, rather I am suggesting that while one must work hard, we must remember to play hard, as well.

I am a hard worker. I enjoy working hard and figuring out problems at work. But I also enjoy spending time with my lover; and in reality, she is the most important in my life, so work should be secondary. Not only is she the most important, but she is also my happiness; I enjoy her company and making her happy and being happy with her. That makes me less productive at work because I don’t like to work past 5, unless necessary (to the operational effectiveness of the unit). While at the office, I work hard as a professional Soldier, but I see no reason to be one of those Soldiers who is always one of the last ones to leave. My tombstone will not say “I wish I had worked more.” If it says anything, it will say that I loved my lady and want to be with her always, even through eternity.

I can say whatever I want; but words are meaningless if they do not guide our actions. I have consciously made life, liberty (tempered tolerance) and the pursuit of happiness my guiding ideas in life; my lover is my happiness, not draining my life in the pursuit of the next rank or assignment. I bear no ill will against those who do. For them that may truly be their happiness or the most important thing in their life, for which I applaud them fulfilling their life’s goal. So I ask you to slow down for just long enough to think for yourself about what is truly important to you, and then to see if your daily life reflects that.

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