We only get one ride on this carousel. Pick a horse you like, go for the brass ring, and even if you don’t get it, be sure to enjoy the ride.
The above popped in my head after reading a harrowing and sad story of weight loss in Slate magazine. Titled ‘I Once was Obese’, it chronicles just how miserable the author needed to become, and has resigned herself to continue being, in order to become a size 12.
Is it worth it? I won’t judge this person, except to say that she makes a solid point against the ‘virtue’ of weight loss. ‘Virtue’ – the quality of a person – cannot be measured by a waist size. Neither can happiness, though a lot of fat people think a certain weight will make them happy.
Un, no – it doesn’t. Fat or thin, if we don’t know how to make ourselves happy, we will find things to bitch about.
I once met a man on vacation who in conversation mentioned that he had worked in a telecommunications startup, which got bought by some big company, and he cashed out a multi-millionaire. My wife gushed how wonderful that must be, and his retort was that there were still things to worry about: he had to manage his money, issues with the kids and their schools, etc. He stated that: we travel more and eat better, but it’s not that much different.
Can the vast majority of us reading this NOT multi-millionaires even relate?
In studies on happiness, however, this is perfectly normal. A study once measured happiness in two groups of people – people who won the lottery and paraplegics – 2 years after these life-changing events. Their levels of happiness were the same.
Happiness comes from within. As Viktor Frankl in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ said: you can’t pursue happiness, it must ensue. It comes not what happens to you, but what you make happen.
On this same day I got a ‘teaching’ from a little app on my phone that provides a ‘thought of the day’. It read:
There is no duty we so underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world. – Robert Louis Stevenson.
Losing weight will not automatically make you happy. Weight loss might make you happier but it is your mind that makes you happy. Nothing external can change this – at least not for long.
If you want to lose weight – work to lose weight.
If you want to be happy – work to be happy.
They are two different projects – don’t confuse the two.