Hugh MacLeod at GapingVoid.com had a great post today asking folks for their ‘manifestos'. Thanksgiving inspired me to write mine on happiness. Here's what I wrote and what Hugh posted (with a couple grammatical edits and Hugh's wonderful illustration!):
Tá ár gcultúr báite le teachtaireachtaí a threoraíonn bealach na féin-scrios dúinn. Is ionann sonas agus rudaí nach bhfuil againn… gluaisteáin, airgead, ABS 6 phacáiste, dámhachtainí, stíleanna maireachtála, nó fiú sóid amháin. Is ionann eolas agus saibhreas, cé go bhfuil sé carntha nó le hoidhreacht. Is é seo galar ár gcultúir, ag dearbhú dúinn nach bhfuil muid riamh cliste go leor, riamh saibhir go leor, nach bhfuil go leor againn riamh.
Tugann na meáin siamsaíocht dúinn le scéalta saibhris, gnéis, coireachta agus cumhachta - gach rud a d’fhéadfadh dochar a dhéanamh dúinn nó do dhaoine eile nuair a thógtar an iomarca orthu. Glacann ár rialtas páirt fiú sa mhíthreorú, agus déanann sé crannchur dúinn. Tá gach teachtaireacht margaíochta agus gach trácht mar an gcéanna, “Beidh tú sásta nuair”.
We are not happy with our spouses, so we get divorced. We're not happy with our homes, so we relocate our families and buy bigger until we can't afford them. We shop until our credit is used up and we go bankrupt. We are not happy with our jobs, so we join in hurtful politics to try to accelerate our promotions. We're not happy with our employees so we hire new ones. We're not happy with our profits, so we let faithful employees go.
We are a culture of individuals who are told that hording is the best path to happiness. The grass is always greener – the next girlfriend, the next home, the next city, the next job, the next drink, the next election, the next, next, next… We are never taught to be happy with what we have now. We must have it, and have it now. That's when we'll be happy.
Since it's only possible for the selected few to have it all, the bar is always higher than we can reach. We can never achieve happiness as defined by our culture. How do we cope? We medicate. Illicit drugs, alcohol, prescription medications, tobacco are all necessary and popular since they take the edge off of our unfulfilled lives.
Go deimhin, táimid ar bharr an domhain. Is muidne na ceannairí le gach gné den rath a dtomhaistear cultúr ina gcoinne. Tá na hairm is cumhachtaí againn, na hacmhainní nádúrtha is iontach, an geilleagar is mó, agus na daoine is iontach.
Ach, nílimid sásta.
Don't rely on anyone or anything outside your own self to drive your happiness. It is up to no one but you. When you own your happiness no one can steal it, no one can buy it, and you don't have to look elsewhere to find it. But you can give some away anytime you would like!
God bless you and yours this fantastic Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is 1 day out of a year. Perhaps we should have “Self-giving” and reverse our calendar. Let us spend the rest of the year being happy with what we have and one day spoiling ourselves with what we don't have. Let us be happy with our family, our children, our home, our job, our country and our lives.
Beidh tú sásta ... nuair a gheobhaidh tú sonas ionat féin.