“Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Aristotle-Greek philosopher and the original type A personality.
If this is true, then happiness is infinity…it stretches out around us with no beginning and no end. Because there is no wall or fence or border, no top or bottom or side, then we never know if we’ve reached the end of happiness. Maybe happiness is the God particle…the start and the finish.
And if humans, according to Ari, are simply receptacles for happiness, then it totally explains why some of us are buckets and some of us are sieves.
Those who are buckets have enough and sometimes overflow…and the sieves, well, they’ll never have enough and will never appreciate what they do have because they constantly try to keep filling up, never full, never satisfied.
There are leaky buckets…you know the type I mean…the fake happys…the ones who want for nothing and yet need everything. It’s a slow leak, and they try to fill the bucket so fast that it tips over and they are left empty and misunderstood. Leaky buckets can be deceiving. At least you know what you aren’t getting with a sieve.
If happiness is the infinite end-all, then the pursuit of it can either be joyful or desperate, and those are the common denominators that we all share as human beings.
Of course, Aristotle could have been a total whack job, the crazy guy who walked his pet cricket he had tied to a string around the city walls, spouting limericks and picking his lunch and dinner from two weeks ago out of his foot long beard.
His buddy Socrates said…”If you get a good wife you’ll become happy. If you get a bad one you’ll become a philosopher.”
It’s clear to me that Aristotle wasn’t happily married and spent a lot of time in the dog house…thinking.
Happiness is best when it comes simply. It truly is the little things…take today for instance.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Nashville, but really cold. I threw on my running clothes with the best intentions and decided to head to the track for some interval training. My nose has been running for two months because my daughter’s cats are “visiting” and I’m highly allergic to them, so the snot froze on my face from my back door to my Jeep. Too cold to run…I’d ride my spin bike later. I was already in the car so I headed to Walmart. I’m there every other day. I can’t explain it. I know I’m always out of toilet paper. I won’t buy the twelve roll jumbo pack. It’s the principle…
Making each day the best also involves my eating better. My cart was full of fresh fruit and green things. I whistled down the potato chip aisle and past the Pepperidge Farm cookie display. Not today boys…I’m eating healthy.
I didn’t even mind that there were only three checkout aisles open for thirty shoppers. Standing in line gives me a chance to catch up on the Kardashenanigans and the stars caught with and without make-up and cellulite. All the cover girls look like they have abnormally large heads and and none of the guys own shirts and have huge arms and chests and little heads.
I was almost past the danger zone…the gum and candy and bags of honey roasted peanuts. I was about to put my organic panic on the conveyor belt when my hand brushed by a box of Crunch and Munch. OMG. Toffee coated popcorn and peanut bliss. Mine…all mine…a reward for riding my spin bike an extra mile…or three.
I piled my groceries into my Jeep, tossed the contraband up in front with me and pulled out of the parking lot. I reached over to open the box and pull out the foil bag. I couldn’t open it with one hand so I waited until I got to the light. I couldn’t open it with two hands. There was air in the bag. You see where I’m going with this. I pushed against the sides and the bag exploded…toffee and peanut goodness flying everywhere. Nooooooo…..
I drove to the car wash to vacuum out my car, eating the popcorn that landed in my lap and hair. I applied the five second rule a couple of times…okay…all the way to the car wash and pulled in to clean out the rest that was left. I can’t leave any remnants of food in my car due to the Great Mouse War of 2009.
Let me preface this story by telling you that I am a tree-hugger and an animal lover. In the old days I gave a home to anything that let me pick it up. I took in a lot of strays. I had to put a stop to it because I think people were just driving by and tossing their unwanted animals over my fence.
We live in the country. Mice live in the country. Mice like to come inside in the winter. At first, it was cute…the little mousie sat in my shoe watching t.v. with us. He had an odd bend in his tail and a black spot on his side. We named him Felix. Felix didn’t like living alone and pretty soon he had himself a girlfriend. She made a nest inside my box of checks, shredding the deposit slips to make a honeymoon bed. Felix and his girlfriend made deposits of their own everywhere and had to go. I am a strong believer in Karma and I don’t like to kill anything…so I bought a live trap and made a nice peanut butter and banana stew and set it out for Felix.
I’m thinking Felix held the door open and let his girlfriend go in first, because the next morning I found both of them frantically jumping around in the plastic trap. I took the box and rode out to one of my barns, wished them well and let them go.
I have a lot of hair. It takes a long time to dry so sometimes I go to bed with it wet. When it dries it expands like one of those amazing sponges. It is also a tangled mess. You might call it a rat’s nest.
I was asleep in bed a couple of nights after I threw Felix and his girlfriend out. I had washed my hair and it dried like a huge tumbleweed.
***Disclaimer…proceed with caution…discretion advised…not for the squeamish***
I felt a tug at my hair and half awake, I reached up to touch it. Something was in my hair and when I made contact it squeaked. I shot out of bed smacking at my hair and running in a circle. The more I smacked at it, the more tangled it became. We were both squealing. Finally I smacked it free from my hair and it hit the wall and fell to the floor. I turned on the light. He looked familiar. Crooked tail and spot on his side…it was Felix. He’d come back. I couldn’t believe it.
He was still breathing and I put him back in the live trap. The next day I spray painted him neon orange and let him go about two miles from my house. Two nights later Felix, dressed in orange, strolled by right in front of the t.v., stopped and smirked. I went to Walmart and bought a snap-trap. Checkmate. Sorry Felix.
I forgot about the girlfriend. She moved into my Jeep, leaving her calling cards all over my dashboard and car seat. The cheek. I put a snap-trap under the passenger seat and FORGOT ALL ABOUT IT. About two weeks later I noticed an odd smell in my car and took it to the dealer thinking it was something mechanical. They took the engine apart, found nothing, and I drove away with the windows open, three hundred dollars poorer.
That night I sat bolt upright in bed. I remembered the trap under the seat. Sure enough…there were the remains of Felix’s girlfriend. They got the last laugh on me. When I evicted them, they had left behind a nest full of children and for the rest of the winter it was me against them. Snap. Squeak. I’m not proud of it. If only Felix hadn’t smirked.
Now I try to keep food to a minimum in my car, especially in the winter. While I was vacuuming it out today, my friend and workout pal Patricia pulled in. We’d promised each other to try to eat healthy and work out over the holiday until we could get back on our training schedule. She was eating an apple. I was standing holding the empty Crunch and Munch box. Busted.
In the whole scheme of things…it all worked out. I only ate a handful of Crunch and Munch, so I didn’t have to do the extra mileage on the spin bike. Win win. It’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow…back to business as usual.
My bucket is full.
Day three hundred and fifty four…over. Check.