"Happiness is ideally what we yearn for. Happiness is practically what we earn for." - Me!
I can't believe I came up with the line above.
I won't be farther from the truth if I say I need happiness and that too eternal. And am sure everyone reading this will agree. And there's no ambiguity either. Normally, when we are confused with multiple options, we make decision that may not be right in the long term. Like career v/s marriage, or career v/s having a child, or family time v/s time for passion or even black forest v/s walnut brownie. These are like cross-roads – you make a choice & move on and the rejected option may not return ever again (apart from the ice cream, of course). These are the considerations we have to make whose outcome will define the future we will witness.
And what’s the future we are looking for? Anything that has happiness at its core, isn’t it? We chose various means to attain happiness but seldom reach the desired destination. Money is one such means. Many of my relatives and colleagues feel they lost out on opportunities just to ensure they children have a safe and secure future. We Indians are habituated to this, aren’t we? Our parents have going through the same thing and we will go through when we reach this stage – despite knowing what we are losing out on.
One of my friends father shared his experience with me – He said he went abroad to make money and left his family (wife and 2 kids) back in India. He used to transfer money regularly. This went for more than 2 decades. One fine day he left everything and came back home. He felt he had saved enough. When we came back, his kids were already in their twenties and were closer to getting married. He said he missed his kids a lot. He missed their growing up days, a walk in the park, playing with them, attending school events – everything. He wasn’t enjoying either. He sacrificed a lot of his pleasures to save for his family. There are moments when he felt he should come back, but the need to save more forced him to stay back. Yes, his family is now well-to-do and are secure financially, but at what cost? He advised me to take my family along if I happen to get an overseas assignment and to be a little bit more selfish than most Indian dads who are primarily concerned about a financially secure future.
Isn’t this the story of almost all Indians working abroad while feeding their families back home by transferring money?
Most of us are on a mission to seek happiness, but appear to be on a wrong path. We know it’s wrong but we are somewhat forced to traverse this path hoping to seek happiness through more money. Or maybe it’s the need to earn more money and later on redirect my route towards happiness. I don't really know.
Life is too short to learn from our own mistakes. Maybe we need to learn from the mistakes and experiences of people around us. But then, experience is also like a comb that life gives you when you are bald!