Would you accept twenty years of extraordinary happiness and fulfillment if it meant you would die at the end of the period?
At first, I thought my answer to Gregory Stock‘s question was going to be affirmative. I’m 40 years old–when I’m 60, there is a good chance that I will have already outlived my mother and possibly even my husband. I have no children, so I won’t be hoping to live long enough to see graduations, weddings, grandchildren, and the like. If my loved ones are going to be gone by that point anyway, why not trade twenty years of extraordinary happiness for a finite number of days?
But then I thought, “Wait. Life is pretty good right now.” Most days I would say I am happy, and though there are some areas (career) where there is room for improvement, for the most part my life leaves me feeling fulfilled. So what exactly are extraordinary happiness and fulfillment? Are they really that much different from the happiness and fulfillment I have now? (And trust me, it’d be just my luck to agree to the trade-off, then find out what I’ve got and what I think I’m getting are actually the same thing, except now I’ve screwed myself out of the joys of retirement and senior discounts.) Does extraordinary happiness mean never having a day when I feel angry, sad, worried, confused, hurt, or just blah? Does extraordinary fulfillment mean I have everything I’ve ever wanted in every aspect of my life–family, friends, finances, health, work, leisure? Would all of that really be better than what I’ve got now? I mean, if I never felt sadness, how would I know when I’m truly happy? If I already have everything I ever wanted, wouldn’t I lose the joy of pursuing and achieving goals on my own?
So after careful consideration, I don’t think I’d accept only twenty more years of life in exchange for extraordinary happiness and fulfillment. For as long as I’m able, I will continue on as I have been, making the most of each day and seeking fulfillment by working to create my own happiness through whatever opportunities and obstacles life throws my way. Looking back on this decision twenty years from now, with hopefully another couple of decades stretching in front of me, I can’t see how I could have any regrets.
Posts I commented on today:
About the Project (Jump for Joy! Photo Project) new blog of the day
15 A Day in the Life (Janice Heck: My Time to Write)
I’m a Bitch, I’m a Lover, I’m a Child… (Rendezvous with Renee)