It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation which give happiness.
Unlike the young, which I'm not, I know the difference between popularity and quality. Unlike the educated, which I'm not, I know the difference between logic and reason. Unlike the wealthy, which I'm not, I know how to be rich. So at what corner does that put me on the fly screen of creation? I am simply a poor, old, uneducated vendor of opinions and ideas about politics, religion, aesthetics, ethics and society to which no one famous or influential pays any attention. In other words I'm just like most of the people in the world.
No one from the news media is going to come here and ask me my opinion, what I felt or "what went through" my mind. And that is just as well, because they would most likely get an honest answer, which they won't want.
Managing one's humbleness is a difficult thing considering all the spit balls and javelins life is fond of throwing at us. I don't know how Jefferson found tranquility standing on the trembling ground of forming a new country. I'm sure those men looked forward to retirement more than most of us do today. But if tranquility is one of the steps toward happiness then it is surely something to be desired.
Thom also speaks of occupation. Occupation means not only a profession or the holding of land or office. It also means a calling. I was called to the theatre as a lad and spent close to 50 years as an entertainer. Now, in my retirement, in my ardent but frustrating attempt to find tranquility, I write. I've written over a thousand journal entries, two novels, some short stories and articles. Is that an occupation? If I could ever get past the blocks that keep me from copy writing, find an agent, editor or publisher I may also find my way to tranquility. If my books merely gathered dust on some library shelves at least the occupation part of the equation will have been answered.
I guess whatever it is we do everyday is our occupation. Or is it? We tend to get possessive about the wrong things. Do you have an office job? Do you work at a desk? The desk isn't yours. It belongs to the company. It has been loaned to you to do the work you were hired for. Similarly, the job belongs to the company. If you leave it the company will hire someone else to do it.
I came to understand this years ago in my career. I did not own the role. The producer only hired me to play it. Another actor could do the job. And my life as an artist was not dependant upon that role. I did not possess the role and it did not possess me. The ownership was temporary and my career lay outside of it.
Now I write. I own the computer, the desk and all the words, provided some villain doesn't plagiarize them. But the occupation is reciprocal. I own the words but they also own me. I am occupied by them. That brings me some joy.
I am, however, still working toward the tranquility part.
DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.
It's a long, hot, sticky summer, so here's a hot, sticky question for you. Don't let the recent New York State decision rob you of your thunder.
Same sex marriage. Should it be legal or not? If so, why? If not, why not?
13 answers so far.
You have until the last day of summer, but don't dally.
I eagerly await your answer.