Thursday, February 14, 2008

Has it been 300 already, some words to live by...

I was doing some blog maintenance and I realized that my little Valentine ditty in rainbow colors was post 300. I started this blog as an experiment in response to the stupendous talent of my friend E is for Eating. Unfortunately her schedule has impacted her blogging and I miss her distinctive voice. The original blog was started after a car accident where I decided to forego purchasing a replacement car for as long as I could to see if it was possible. I could definitely lead a life without a car, doing my daily errands and going to work. However, I found that the lack of car in Silicon Valley to be socially isolating. Ultimately losing the affections of what I called the "Chinese Version Ellen Pompeo (of Gray's Anatomy fame)" or CVEP motivated the purchase of an automobile. Call me shallow.

The original title of the blog "Car(e)free in Califonia" no longer applied, so I transitioned it to "Car(bon)free in California" instead, the experiment ended but there are so many places where we can live a lighter lifestyle without crimping our style that topics kept begging to be written about, and experiments such as the garbage diary, or clean the crap out of your life, etc means that I'm still blogging. 300 moved really fast.

For post 301, I wanted to tackle a big subject, and one that I think is related to our lifestyle and the impact we have on our lives and planet. And that topic is happiness, or the pursuit of it.

This past week has been a hard one at work, being in the public eye is tough and the company I'm with has had a very hard and scrutinized couple of weeks. It culminated with a large number of people's lives changing drastically as they figure out how to make ends meet. (can I be more euphemistic, probably not). At work, a lot of people mentioned that I didn't look happy, now in general "I'm an only happy when it rains" kind of guy. Now, in most cases my co-workers were genuinely concerned. Now I wouldn't say I was happy, but I wouldn't say I was unhappy per se. I think I just know in the scheme of things, I have much to be grateful BUT, there is much that can be improved.

Bicycling magazine often holds a reader poll asking for responses to topics like "Favorite Bike," "Favorite trail, " etc. One of the questions was "Least favorite cyclist" and the quoted answer for someone "Me." Reason: "Because I'm so sloowwwww..." That answer really resonated with me. Since I often look back and go "was I (or we) really that stupid" but it leads to growth.

This is very much counter to the credo of our country where we are to "live in the pursuit of happiness" and it struck me that the phrasing means we are not suppose to catch it. Think about it, the phrase is not "Life, liberty and the state of happiness" or "Life, liberty and the state of happiness" no, it's pursuit. We move from two states to an action. Now the pursuit can be really interesting in life, on this valentines day if I finish this post in time, we call pursuit courting. But we assume we obtain it.

So is happiness the root of our consumption, only if we're constantly pursuing it and never getting it. Happiness may even be overrated. There's a recent Newsweek article talking about the happiness backlash. Professor Eric Wilson in his new book "Against Happiness" argues that we need sadness in our lives. has an overview of his work. Both allude to the great works of progress and art from sadness. A sense of sadness as we look at our forests disappearing, might make us change.

As we look at the planet, will some sorrow save us?


At 9:36 AM , Blogger arduous said...

I think we need both happiness and sadness, but I think we could do with much less frustration in our lives. For example, life and death are part of the natural order, right? But dealing with insurance companies is not.


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