Looking over my left shoulder at decades past I see marriages, children, puppies, non-wife soulmates, one-night stands, debau... well, let’s not go there.
Over my right shoulder I note graduate degrees, professional respect, nice cars, fortune, and entrepreneur success.
All that lies over either shoulder is measurable and/or observable by others.
When I ask friends and acquaintances wherein lies their happiness, they respond with one of the left or right, animate or inanimate choices or something similar. Rarely does anyone point to an inner source of happiness, a source immeasurable, invisible, untouchable.
Why? Is it because people shy away from introspection? Are they too busy counting toys, calculating financial net worth, and making lists of stuff to acquire?
I experience ultimate happiness alone on a sailboat one thousand miles from the nearest land. It finds me when I’m exploring a Carolina swamp by kayak and paddle unaccompanied by iPod, GPS, or companion. Happiness arrives as surely as the next tide when I hike an untrodden trail wondering what lies around the next bend or over the next rise.
And that, my readers, is how a reclusive misanthrope defines happiness.
(Image - aboard Sun Po midway between San Francisco and Hilo, HI enjoying the catch of the day, a flying fish.)