Finding Fulfillment

Through the messages we get on television and in magazine ads, we are encouraged to look for quick fixes. Of course they are not called quick fixes but merely purchases that are encouraged because they will make you look more attractive, be happier, feel better, smell better, and be more entertained, among other things. Years ago when I lived in England, I noticed that their television ads were mostly about healthy foods. For example, the dairy council was frequently advertising and advocating milk and eggs, and there were a lot of ads for wholesome breakfast cereals and fruits.

When I came back to the United States, I was amused to see that we seemed to be preoccupied with clean toilet bowls and underarm deodorant. I’m not sure if England is still promoting good foods, but in this country we have gone beyond toilet bowl cleaner and underarm deodorant. Now many of our ads tell us that if we take this or that pill, we will get slim, romantic, energetic, and/or a multitude of other conditions. Sometimes when you hear the side effects that these medications cause, they seem worse than the condition itself and the long-term effects may not be known for many years. Many of these medications are the quick fixes, and most of the time no mention is made of the slow payments that will be made for ignoring the basic health tenets of good nutrition, enough sleep, less stress, and exercise.

If we are looking for distractions from our lives, the quick fixes may include such things as cars, clothes, and trips, but the bad part about distractions is that these distractions only work for awhile. Then they become old hat and we need the next thing. These things may be quick fixes, but the debt incurred requires slow payments.

I used to be curious about people who had serial marriages, those who were married four, five, six times, and more. Could you really marry that many people and get that intimately involved and leave over and over and over again? That’s not to say this is wrong if this is what you choose to do and others want to do with you; however, it seems as if there would be a lack of depth in these unions, since none of them could last long enough to develop the trust and commitment that goes with seeing one another through the ups and downs of life. Not to mention that sometimes divorcing one and marrying another right away over and over may be a quick fix, and lawyers and alimony may be the slow payment.

Many of these things are good things in and of themselves as long as they are not seen as the road to fulfillment. Far wiser minds than mine have said that the only true happiness comes from the happiness you get in everyday moments, the basics that we have in our everyday lives. These are the things that are with us daily, and these are the things that we can reach for in every moment. These are not the big highs that set us up for the big lows. These are the little everyday highs that buoy us up as we move through our days, the ones that come without the lows.

Some of these everyday treasures include enjoying friends and family, spending time in nature and appreciating the change of the seasons and the beauty and variety that each brings, loving your pets or listening to the wild birds and creatures of nature. These seemingly small things are with each and every one of us every day of our lives and are what joy comes from. The other trappings are a nice addition as long as our happiness doesn’t depend on them, but the basic core of our lives doesn’t really cost us anything but our loving attention.

This sounds so simple but it’s true. Fortunately, as we move through life, most of us find these simple pleasures take on more meaning with each passing year. How sweet it is!

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