One of the disadvantages of living in a small community is that it takes a little while for the gains and ills of the rest of the metropolitan world to reach us. I think it's safe to say that all the fall-out from the housing market is finally reaching this area. Add to that all the nonsense from New York State and any other missteps that might have happened locally over the past few years and things feel depressing around town.
I know it's not quite as bad as all that, but some days it feels that way. Maybe I'm deluding myself there even and it really is that bad.
One of the areas where people tend to find satisfaction and fulfillment is work. There are jobs available, I'm told, but whether they're matching up with what people want for careers or offer enough compensation for a person's talent is another matter. From many people in my age group, I've been hearing dissatisfaction with what they are doing for work, assuming they're even employed. The level of frustration seems to have ratcheted up since the beginning of the year. The feeling is, "My job isn't so bad but it's not what I want to do and there are no jobs here I can go to," "I'm not crazy about my boss, but there's nothing else open that would be any better," or "I like this job but the pay doesn't come near the hours I put in or what I'm worth."
As much as many of us would like to say we are able to concentrate on enjoying the hours away from the office, for most of us the discontent of the work day has a way of spilling over into our "free" time. Ideally, we all would be working in careers that we love or be following our calling in life, but that can be a hard goal that's made harder when living in an economy that's struggling to not shed too many jobs each quarter.
So assume for a moment that we take on the task of truly trying to let work be work since changing the job economy is something that is probably beyond most people's control. Control is an important word. We have a certain level of control over what happens in our lives. While not true in every case, we usually can control the activities that fill our free time. We choose what food we eat. We choose the people with whom we want to associate.
We all have toxicity in our lives. It can be something as mild as choosing to eat McDonald's for dinner one night to the extreme of using an illegal substance to numb that which is displeasing. What it comes down to is taking responsibility for our lives and choosing to live. My personal belief is that if one does this, happiness follows. It could be easy, or not, depending on how deeply mired you are in your way of life that has you down. I don't think we ever can stop working at finding happiness, it just becomes easier to attain if we continually practice what we know is true to ourselves.