What Does Happiness Mean To You? (AKA – Why Drivers Suck)

King's Cross St. Pancreas
King's Cross St. Pancreas

I live in a city with awful drivers.  By ‘drivers,’ I mean people behind the wheel of a vehicle.  By ‘city,’ I mean San Antonio, TX.  I don’t think I’ve ever completed a journey without seeing a driver who was taught the rule of, “You’re not passing correctly if you don’t nearly clip the bumper of the person in front of you, while changing lanes.”  (Seriously, who the hell came up with this rule?)  Eighty percent of the drivers I see are talking on cell phones.  Another fifteen percent are texting on cell phones or messing with a GPS.  Four percent are busy signalling obscene gestures at the first ninety-five percent.  The final one percent is a toss-up.  What’s the common theme with all these people?  They’re not happy.

It might sound like I’m exaggerating, but I guarantee you I am not.  If you don’t believe me, take a trip down to SATX and drive around for a bit.  It doesn’t even have to be rush hour.  These drivers will find an excuse to be mad.  I’m guilty of it too, at times.  So what gives?  Why do people hop in a vehicle, put on their unhappy hats, and scorn the rest of the world for being in their way?

We’re Afraid Of Ourselves

I have a theory.  I claim that people do as much as they can to block out the reality of their own lives.  What would we do in our cars if there were no stereos, no speakers, no cell phones, no iPods, and no one else on the road?  We would be left alone with ourselves.  We would be forced to think!  *gasp*  We would have to sit in silence for the duration of our voyages, with no one to direct energy at but ourselves.  Why is that so frightening?

Have you ever tried to turn your mind off for a brief period of time?  I’m not talking about going to sleep.  I mean just sitting down in your most comfortable chair/couch/hammock, and zoning out.  Our culture tells us that we need to be busy all the time, or else we’re inadequate.  I bet you’ve seen this happen at the workplace.  If you’re dicking around on your computer, but it looks like you’re working, you’re in the clear – and a good worker.  However, if you perform the same activity on your cell phone, you are officially a slacker – and probably in trouble.  Why do we have to be busy ALL the time?

If you haven’t ever tried it, try it today.  Give yourself five minutes.  Don’t tell me you don’t have five minutes in a day.  I don’t care how many organizations you’re a member of, how many kids you have, or how many poodles you own – you have five minutes.  So for five (consecutive) minutes today, just sit down and be.  Shut your laptop.  Turn off the music.  Go to a quiet place.  Close your eyes if you want.  What does your  mind focus on?  What matters to you?  What makes you happy?  Listen to yourself for a full five minutes.

All Your Happiness Is Inside You Already

When you actually take the time to listen to yourself, you realize what drives you.  You realize what you’ve been blocking out.  You know what the funny part is?  Everything you need to be happy is in you already.  All you have to do is slow down and listen.  I can’t tell you what your happiness is, but I can tell you that it’s already there.  Only you can find out what it is.

When you find what it is that makes you happy, focus on it.  Even when you escape your ‘five minutes to fulfillment.’  When those awful drivers cut you off, as they try to avoid the reality of their own lives, just smile and enjoy the fact that you’re more secure with yourself than they are.

One More Thing…

On another note, you know what can really help you discover your happiness?  Get off your ass and travel!

Comment idea: What defines your happiness?

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