We’re an “investment.” Happy enough is not a enough.
I’m happy enough. I don’t expect much. I don’t give much. I don’t get much. I’m happy enough.~ Waitress, a movie (2007)
We’re living in detestable times. At all four corners of the Earth, we humans are reveling in war, chaos, and unrest. Humanity is awake and it’s vexed and throwing tantrums like a two-year old.
Truth is, humanity’s immaturity is nothing new — our nonsensical misbehavior has been on repeat since we began to walk upright. It’s what we’ve done and what we do.
Only now, anyone with a smartphone can capture and transmit our ignorance, stupidity, selfishness, greed, and evil intents around the world in real time. Plus, we have inexhaustible sources for unpleasant news, lies, and damn lies.
Frankly, it’s totally understandable that many of us are bone weary. We’re exhausted from viewing and/or suffering through the relentless absurdity and the madness. We can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
So, we want to throw our hands up in the air and say, “I’m happy enough.” In other words, we decide to settle for what has been and what is. We decide to settle for the status quo. We decide to accept that we can’t ever be better than the worst among us.
Hard labor birthed us
But is “happy enough,” enough? Should we settle? Is this approach worthy of all it took for Life to birth us? Let’s consider this…
A mother carries a baby deep in her womb for the better part of a year. And she endures…
- morning and/or afternoon nausea;
- swollen feet;
- stretch marks;
- a belly the size of a beach ball; and
- the knowledge that after the happy event her body will probably not bounce back to what is was.
Then, if all that wasn’t enough, with one foot in the grave, she does hard, manual labor to push through an opening smaller than the size of a cherry pit a football-sized baby.
And if she is brave enough to breast feed, well, do you have any idea how much cracked nipples hurt when those sweet, tiny lips take hold?!
Now, if we were a lucky baby, our mothers continued to nurture us in a million little ways – physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially — for 18 years (minimum).
And if we’re luckier still, we have daddies who love our mothers or, at the very least, actively partner with her to nurture us into adulthood.
For our parents, it’s a journey of love and sacrifice. It’s the price they pay for engaging with life.
We’re here. Is enough, enough?
The point is: Our parents invest and sacrifice a lot for us.
So, in light of that, doesn’t the attitude “I’m happy enough” seem decidedly defeatist?
Please, say yes.
Now, it’s arguable if life is a blessing. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. I suppose our point of view on that depends on how good the “hand” Lady Fortune dealt us, our innate nature, and/or where we are in our life cycle.
But whether we consider life a blessing or a curse, we’re here. And it makes sense to approach life with high expectations.
Yes, you’re only human
Yes, our expectations are largely disappointments.
Yes, we often get so much less than we give.
Yes, we feel lost.
Yes, we feel misunderstood and lost in translation.
Yes, we feel hopeless. Whatever we can do seems like trying to fill up a 5-gallon bucket with an eyedropper.
Yes, sometimes, we feel the darkest despair laying waste to every good thought and feeling.
And, yes, our death is certain.
If we have a heart and a conscience, these aforementioned feelings are natural and a given. We’re human, after all.
But here’s the thing…
Even when all seems lost and we’re all out of hope and faith, you, I, we must commit to digging deeper and finding our way back to hopeful high expectations.
Maybe we turn off the news for a time and regenerate.
Maybe we sit quietly and listen to silence.
Maybe we read a book or listen to a song that soothes and calms.
Maybe we turn to someone who we respect and who is emotionally stronger or wiser to guide us back.
Maybe we find others who are truly less fortunate to help and support out of their darkness.
Maybe we go for long walks in nature.
Because this attitude is simply unworthy! There is no joy or progress in “happy enough.” Our mothers and fathers’ labors and investments deserve better than this. Our children — the future — deserve better. You, I, and we deserve better.
So, don’t be lame and permanently settle for “I’m happy enough.” It’s not enough.
UPDATED on June 2, 2021.