Gratification, Happiness and Serenity

I have just had another birthday. The bigger the number it seems the more wistful one gets. You think about where you have been and more importantly how you are going to live your life from here on out. The temptation is to put your feet up and go on auto pilot. Somehow I am not quite ready for that…yet. 

The world is a crazy place. Or should I say the world is constant, the inmates are crazy. I often think the mountains and trees and oceans, that have been there for millennia, must look at us and say,”What are those idiots thinking?” 

You can get philosophical and question why we were put here? I truly believe we all play a part. The trick is finding out which one is best for you, whether we are talking loved ones, careers or just where we plant ourselves.  It probably comes down to following your talents whatever they may be. 

There are gazillions of books on how to find happiness. I have read a bunch of them. Then I had my Aha moment when I realized happiness is a somewhat transitory state. You capture a moment and think it can’t get any better. That can be an incredible sight, a stolen kiss, a glass of wine or even a promotion. You have found the perfect house, shot 78 or driven a very cool car in your driving loafers and smooth leather gloves. It doesn’t last forever.

Some feel you should act like this this every day and maybe they can. The term gratification, comes to mind.  It is the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence. You have earned it. You can do anything you want at any time and the cost is irrelevant. It is not just rich people but a poor soul who squanders their meager funds on something stupid. 

Think about it for a second. We have the ability to go online, buy anything we want and have it delivered in a few hours or God forbid the next day. You put it on that magic piece of plastic and eat drink and be merry for we don’t have to pay for at least a month and then only a minimal sum. And all for that one euphoric moment when all your dreams come true and then, POOF, you are searching for another hit. 

Now I am not claiming to be a monk and I definitely don’t want to be a killjoy. I have had my share of fun and games. But is it realistic or more importantly fulfilling to always be at the trough? My daughter as a young girl once pondered, “If you can have anything you want all at once, what is there to look forward to?”  Out of the mouths of babes!

It has never become more evident that we define ourselves by things. Here in Flalaland the pace has picked up with the price of the houses. Tear down and build anew. Bentleys and Rolls are replacing the Beemers and Mercedes and our Volvo. Let it rip. Hey, go for it if it floats your boat, but what do you do for an encore?

Of course we ask ourselves are we or they happy? Maybe for a moment until we realize those new golf clubs aren’t going to produce low scores. New car smell goes away and sooner or later the kitchen you redid five years ago is somehow “dated”. Is there something more?

Enter stage left, a thing called serenity. Peace, calmness, tranquility. Yikes!  Even the words sound soothing. Definition..the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Are you kidding me TTG? In today’s world? Have you lost your mind?  Not quite yet. 

I was at hospice a few weeks ago. I walked into a patient’s room and asked how she was doing? She said she was great. She was dying, knew it and ready to go. We had a fascinating chat for almost a half an hour. When I was going to leave I held her hand to thank her and noted how cold they were. She laughed and said,”Pretty soon, they are going to get a lot colder!” Kids, that is serenity !!!

The antithesis might be Putin. He has stolen billions and may be the richest guy in the world. He has yachts, mansions, and power of a sort. And yet he wants Ukraine. He is tortured and tormented by the has been USSR. This dude will never be happy. Do you know any Putins?

Simply put, you accept things as they are. Don’t get crazy whether things go wrong or they go right. It’s life. You can be happy and you can be sad. All part of the program. You can put yourself in happiness or harm’s way but a good deal of the time it is unavoidable. I am going to try to stop making life happen and maybe just take it as it comes. 

I am hopefully good natured Irishman. I have a pretty good temper that I try not to show too often. I also think I understand  emotions. I feel things deeply. The good and the bad. Maybe, just maybe I can round off the sharp edges and lower the distance between highs and lows. Serenity? I don’t think I would go that far but a taste of it now and then doesn’t hurt. 

As always 

Ted The Great 


It is difficult to quantify emotion. It is the worst utilization of algorithmic theory. How do we define happiness? The best guess is biological, observable or self reporting. 

World’s 20 Happiest Countries

  1. Finland
  2. Denmark
  3. Iceland
  4. Switzerland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Luxembourg
  7. Sweden
  8. Norway
  9. Israel
  10. New Zealand
  11. Austria
  12. Australia
  13. Ireland
  14. Germany
  15. Canada
  16. United States
  17. United Kingdom
  18. Czech Republic
  19. Belgium
  20. 20.France 

Look up serene in Goggle. You will get spas, hidden getaways, music, photographs. Ever wonder why they don’t have your house, car or bank? If you think about it ,a lot of those places for sereneness are free. 

4 thoughts on “Gratification, Happiness and Serenity

  1. Ted. I have lived in 4 countries and worked in many. My Florida for 32 years was a small Swiss village. They valued nature, music, and were active hikers, skiers, when not tending cows or small shops. They avoided any demonstration of material wealth. I may be exaggerating but it was definitely the vibe.Two of my grandchildren have become Swiss and live there (were French and American) Never had the mine is bigger than yours note. In sum, loved your message PK

  2. Ted, you nailed it again…..Pat and I are working towards calm and a less stressful lifestyle back in our homestead….miss HR and all our friends but life goes on….we are in a good place and taking one day at a time…..

    Stay well my friend.


    Dick Almes Cell: 724-396-0223


  3. Very nice Ted.

    Those tiny, homogeneous, socialists ( good socialist) countries with HYGGE big time.

    I am sharing Julian Lennon’s version of Imagine. Such a powerful song and he said he would never sing it. He sang it for a Ukrainian War effort.


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