Life or Something Like It: What matters the most

I’ve been avoiding Facebook, Yahoo, pretty much anywhere on the Web that would throw Sept. 11th coverage in my face. Even more so since, as a page editor, I’ve had to get all the coverage in the print edition this weekend, and it’s just too much. It isn’t that I’m trying to forget; I just don’t really want to read the ‘this is where I was’ posts or view photos from ten years ago. I don’t need to see it; I don’t need to relive it. I know it happened. I remember it just like everyone else and will for the rest of my life – the same way my aunts remember Kennedy’s assassination and the same way my grandparents remember Pearl Harbor. There are just somethings that remain.

Although my way of remembering is decidedly different than most today, it isn’t a bad thing to reflect on the past or what matters the most to you. I had a kick today from a friend of mine in the ‘reminder’ area for what matters. We were discussing my stress and worries about relocating to San Diego in two weeks, and he, in turn, was sharing similar worries regarding his significant other.

What about a job? What about cost of living? What about health care and job benefits? What about whatever else I could possibly think of to worry about?

I guess the correct question for the day and to put it all in perspective is: What about happiness?

Happiness isn’t something you can put a price tag on. Happiness doesn’t come in the form of a paycheck, or how many weeks of vacation you get per year, or even how much you earn. Happiness is the joy of being with the person you love, with being with family and friends. Happiness is created in family picnics, days at the beach, hikes through the forest, or curling up with a good book. Happiness is your creation and it cannot be bought. And when you really think about it, all the stress, all the worry, all the ways we make ourselves unhappy are trivial next to the one state that makes life worthwhile.

Often, we forget about what matters and instead worry about the future. We fail to live our lives for happiness, when it’s something more of us need to do. After all, everyone who died on September 11, 2001, didn’t wake up that morning thinking ‘today, I’m going to die.’ None of us really do. And when I die, I want to leave this world without regret, without stress, and with memories of the things that made me happy. Otherwise, what is the purpose of life, of sacrifice or in taking the time to reflect? We are but hollow shells when we forget what matters most in life.