“God must really love unhappy people, otherwise He wouldn’t have made so many of them.”
A PHILOSOPHER friend remarked recently: “God must really love unhappy people, otherwise He wouldn’t have made so many of them.”
We very seldom meet happy people. Most people would apparently like to be somewhere else, doing something else, or being someone else.
Contentment is a rare commodity. The modern human race is behind much of this unhappiness. We are constantly urged to aspire to better things, aim higher, reach for the stars, strive to be better, richer, more popular. Gather more bling.
In other words, don’t be satisfied with who you are or where you are.
The magazines and TV publish advertisements for expensive cars and designer clothes, hand-crafted shoes, bejewelled Swiss watches, and rare malt whiskies. Usually an attractive long-legged model leans against the million-rand sports car, implying she will fall for the man who drives one of those. She won’t.
There’s no limit to the dissatisfaction we weave around ourselves because there’s always somebody richer or flashier, and we want to be that someone.
If I live in a 10-bedroom palace in Bishopscourt I am unhappy because my friend has a 20-room palace in Monaco.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, instead of worrying about what we could be, we thought about what we are for a change.
My old bakkie gets me safely and comfortably wherever I want to go. It may not be able to travel at 180km/* like my friend’s Porsche, but in reality my friend can never actually go at that speed because there’s too much traffic on the roads.
I love sharing a bottle of Tassenberg red wine with my friend on a Saturday evening. It costs me less than R50. I wonder whether I’d actually get much more pleasure by sharing a R1000 bottle of Bordeaux red with her.
We hardly notice the wine in our glasses. The pleasure is all about the friendship and the conversation and sharing. That’s riches beyond price.
Look at the advertisements for expensive holidays in Spain or the south of France. Would you really be happier there than sitting in the sun on a Kalk Bay sidewalk café sharing a pizza and a beer with three good old pals? I doubt it.
The art of good living is not to look at what could be. It’s to look at the riches you have – the sunshine, the friendship, the soaring seagulls, the craftsmen making intricate beaded animals, the street musicians.
The life we have is as rich as can be. Adding a Rolex watch or a Ferrari adds nothing but comical pride. Like a clown’s hat. We’re rich. We should be as happy as can be.
Farmers are becoming increasingly educated and this definitely increases the cost of living, because by the time the farmer has learnt the biological name of the crop he produces and the entomological name of the bug that eats the crop and the pharmaceutical name of the spray that kills the bug, it’s bound to cost the consumer a lot more.