What does it mean when people say they aren’t happy?
It could mean, I’m discontented, I am not content RIGHT NOW.
Or more likely, I’m not happy with my general SITUATION which I am trying to improve but it isn’t improving fast enough.
The idea of putting most of your effort into trying to improve your state of happiness paradoxically creates the greatest feelings of discontent. You bust a gut trying to get or do the things you think will make you happy, and in the process feel unhappy, knackered, pissed off with life, bored.
When people say they are unhappy often they mean bored. Not in the sense that they haven’t a new box set of the Shield to watch or a new book to read or a dinner party to attend. They have STUFF TO DO that’s pretty interesting. But in a deep sense that it doesn’t provide much nourishment. Their life isn’t nourishing their inner soul, their inner hidden bit that is hidden almost from themselves too.
This sense of frustration, of swimming in mud, of seeing a destination dimly that doesn’t really get any closer is something you don’t really want to admit to yourself because it seems like your STRATEGY failed. You came up with this big plan and all these goals and you’ve achieved a lot of them already and now it seems like…kind of a bore.
Time to change the central plank. OK, five years ago I was living in Oxford in the UK and feeling this same sense of deep boredom- not in my daily life which was pretty interesting, but deep down. I think this deep boredom is when the zone of possibilities seems unnecessarily limited. You look out, intuitively know there is more, that this isn’t IT, but can’t see what to do.
Then I moved to Egypt and whole lot of new possibilities emerged- even though my day to day life was, actually, more boring. I had no friends, I was working a lot of the time, didn’t even have my own place. Now I have all those things but this creeping sense of dissatisfaction is coming around, knocking on some inner door at 5am, or in the evening when you’re thinking shall I watch TV, maybe not?
Of course you can live with it, but wouldn’t it be better to get rid of that feeling?
I think there has to be some sense of excitement in life which comes from either adventure or meeting new and interesting people. Which is why travel is so addictive. I think one needs to build in a way to meet many more new and interesting people than before but in a way that isn’t boring. I think the problem is the SETTING where we meet new people is often BORING too. A dinner party, someone else’s house, an event, something to do with work. The settings are all so familiar to all the parties involved that nothing new is revealed. Jim Haynes, the Paris salon host, when he meets people touches elbows rather than shakes hands. It’s just weird enough to shake you out of boring habits of opening conversation. Maybe all one needs are different ENTRY strategies?