Don’t think for a moment that I skipped past the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. No, quite the contrary. Upon hearing the News of his death, my first question was not, “How did he die, but Why?
I pondered that question for a couple of weeks thinking that his unfortunate death was an opportunity to continue exploring the question of, “Are You Happy America?”
But, then I figured that exploring the question of why so soon after Mr. Hoffman’s death would appear insensitive. So, I decided to wait.
But let’s be honest, Phillip Seymour Hoffman epitomizes the very question of Are You Happy America? Why?
Because Phillip Seymour Hoffman had everything, and let me emphasize, everything, that the rest of us (working poor) would say that if we had, we’d be happy.
He had fame, the good kind, he had money, an elegant New York apartment, a beautiful woman in his life, three healthily children, and the prospect of getting more.
So why wasn’t Phillip Seymour Hoffman a happy man? What made him turn to drugs?
For a long time, I thought that if only I didn’t have The Stalkers in my life I would have married, had children, bought a big MacManison and would have been over the moon happy. Yes, I bought into the fantasy. I drank the Kool-Aide. And I chased ‘The American Dream’ for all it was worth.
And then a few months ago, I began to realize that ‘The American Dream was no longer attainable, at least not for me, and I mourned it big time. I mean I seriously mourned it – complete with tears and ice cream. But I let it go. I did everything except have a funeral for it. Not getting that dream (illusion) was keeping me from being happy.
Maybe the reality of what Mr. Hoffman had obtained for himself was not as perfect as The Dream. And he’d grown tired of chasing it.
I think the trouble comes in when you don’t let it go. When you don’t come to grips with the fact that happiness is not a thing. You can’t buy it. You can’t marry it. You can’t breed it. You can’t inject it into your veins. You can’t smoke it in a pipe. And you can’t drink it out of a glass.
So what is happiness? What does it look like? What does it feel like?
I can’t answer that question for everyone, but for me being happy is that rare place where time, money, and home come together.
For instance, when I have money, I have no time to spend it because I’m usually working. And when I have time, I have no money because I’m not working.
That rare occasion happened for me a few weeks back during the Polar Vortex.
In Chicago, the Polar Vortex first hit us around pay day for me. An as a consequence, I had time to go out and stock up on food and water before the actual four feet of snow hit and I also had the perfect excuse to stay home.
I danced around making soup and vegged out on Comcast ON DEMAND. And somewhere along the way, I realized that I was happy,
I was actually happy without the husband, without the children, and without the MacMansion. I was happy with what I have.
What I had, and have, had become OK. It was enough for me. And the thought of it being enough made me happy. I was not wanting.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up on getting more or better or getting rid of The Stalkers but for right now, this is enough. Or as Paul the Apostle said in Phillippians 4:11-13 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
What is the secret? Attitude.
A Tiny Kitten With A Big Mouth