Most every town and city in America had something going on this summer that made it special. My daughter contacted me regarding an exhibit in Winston Salem, another relative told me about a festival in California. Various wineries held all sorts of tastings and fun events. I mention these to underscore what a wealth of activities are available to us compared to the quaint socials and quilting bees our ancestors might have attended.
Emphasis on what makes for happiness recently has swirled around on various internet sites. Writer Ryan Dobson states in the Wall St. Journal that many of today’s younger generation are focused on “selfies,” a “culture of all-me-all-the-time.” He says we’re losing “the habit of thinking past ourselves.” In his new book, Excellent Sheep, William Deresiewiez asks, “What is the good life and how should I live it?” Both acknowledge that traditional liberal arts education, once the stable of schools and universities, has given way to “fragmentation and specialization” in the curriculum. Rather than being exposed to the accumulated wisdom from the past through the great books, students lack an understanding about issues and thoughts that shaped our culture.
In today’s world getting a job, having a good work ethic and keeping a job are necessary for comfort and survival, but it’s still important to consider what we do accomplish should be done with a mind to the future.
I believe happiness occurs when we accept who we are and where we are, know where we came from and where we’re going. On my daughter’s bedroom wall is a framed saying by Nathanial Hawthorne: “Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” Did Hawthorne have any idea that what he wrote so long ago could be meaningful to someone in today’s world? Of course not.
Writers and creative people tend to get depressed and frustrated, sure that what they write, do, or say is of little value. My dear sister said it best, however. She often tells me that “Every day is the same unless you make it different.”
Is this too much philosophy for a blog, given that it’s still summertime?