Thursday, September 14, 2006

Expectations and Happiness

I have had, throughout my adult life, I have met many people who at first blush, puzzled me.

I had a girlfriend, an acquaintance really, who committed suicide while in college. She came from a wealthy family, was in a sorority, had many male admirers and was doing well in school. From all outward appearances, she was a "success." Still, that did not keep her from ingesting pills and going into a deep sleep, never to wake up again. At the time, this made no sense, but I think I understand it better now. Not fully, but better. I have read that people, for the most part, become "suicidal" by age 5 – their brains have different chemicals or something. But perhaps she just wanted some drama, some attention, and she assumed that she would not fall asleep as fast as she did, or perhaps some traumatic even changed her expectations.

Similarly, I have met some people, who by outward accounts, have gone through so much. Family abuse, limited breaks in the teenage years and so forth, yet by my age, they have a loving family, several children, a spouse that loves them deeply, and are contented. I am not sure what these people expected from a life where their own flesh and blood beat them, they had to struggle to finish college, their immediate family did not provide good role models, but they are leading very contented lives.

I have been sick for the last two days and may or may not write more on this, but this has been bouncing in my brain this morning. I am not saying that low expectations leads to happiness, or that fulfilling expectations does. I really think that we all need to look inside ourselves and find out what we really want to do with our lives, how we want to contribute to our communities and families, what makes us passionate. Maybe this is pop philosophy, or bad philosophy – I don't know. All I do know is that these thoughts are in my non-medicated brain this morning.

I hate taking medicine for anything – it makes me feel all fuzzy and other-than-myself.


~Deb said...

I think all of us have some sort of degree of chemical imbalances. Some are higher than others. Some people are poor---and live happy lives. Some people are rich beyond measure, and end up killing themselves out of unhappiness and being lonely. It makes you wonder why some of these huge movie stars or musicians commit suicide.

If it wasn't for my faith in God, I probably wouldn't be here either.

Great post Leesa!

J R Estelle said...

I know this sounds all Forrest Gump, but I try to believe what my mother told me, "you're never really alone".

I also know that there are others out there that have it far worse than I do, in many ways and I thank God that I am healthy and/or have the means to get help when I feel overwhelmed.

Living a life of luxury doesn't ensure happiness.

Ian Lidster said...

The Rolling Stones said it best when they opined: "You can't always get what you want -- but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."
Condolences in your unwellness, dear Leesa. I have a bad cold myself right now (and I rarely get them), so I too feel like crap, and I agree with you about taking meds, too.

bonne sante

KYCM said...

I think it's something in the air. I too have been a little under the weather. Get well soon Leesa. Love your words!


Tony said...

So, what is it that you're looking for? What do you want to do with your life? Will your contributions to your community and family be direct or indirect? Is what makes us passionate and what we're passionate about necessarily the same? I don't think so.

I hope you get to feeling better, Leesa.

Tony said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Prata said...

Oh I wish that I could be....Richard Cory.

Success does not mean happiness. It just means you succeeded at what you did. Many people do things they don't want to, and succeed at them because they simply can't take the bitter pill of failure or "lack of success".

Chemical imbalances or not, suicide is often the only option that many people are capable of exercising when they simply can not handle the pressure of being something they do not want to necessarily be.

mal said...

I know how you feel about meds. My one experience with morphine convinced me I would rather use lesser pain killers that do not make me fuzzy and depressed.

One of my childhood friends had her mother and her brother suicide. She also struggled with severe depression since her 30's. There is no doubt in my mind there is a genetic basis for it. She greatly fears for her own children

Zack said...

Many people can not help but try to control in every way what happens in life. When they find that they cannot, the frustration sets in. Others have enough faith to trust their purpose in life will be a good one. We all have a purpose and really don't know the final outcome.

Prata said...

Oh yeah, another reason why letting go is so important. Once you let go of your expectations of things, and accept what happens in life as simply being what happens in life (karma or no) then you can afford to be much happier without such risk of disappointment. ^_^ Zen in the works.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

I believe everything happens for a reason...I also live by the rule that "that which doesn't kill me only serves to make me stronger".

So far, I'm pretty sure I can bench press a Buick...;)

Hope you're feeling better...:)

Grant said...

Drugs rule! But sorry you have to use feeling sick as an excuse to partay.

I've always had a suicidal inclination, from when I heard the word for the first time (four or so). It's still how I plan to go out. Not now, but when I get old and useless I hope I have the clarity to realize my life is more pain than pleasure. That way I'll stay in control of my fate. I plan to wear explosives on a devil costume, walk into a church, shout "May jebus fuck you!" and go out with a lot of poor company.

Leesa said...

I think about this a lot too. If you're raised a certain way, do you have different expectations of how your future will turn out, then someone else? Do you have lower expectations if your parents were awful? Or do you choose higher, just to spite?
Good post :)

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

I do think that expectations can set into motion a lot of unhealthy things. I do think you are onto something here. Great post.