You know, some people see the doughnut. Some people see the hole.
I have been gazing into my own navel of late. This nirvana thing seems to be eluding me. It is difficult to keep your eyes on the prize in this society. There are just too many things to distract you.
But what most folks out there think that what we strive for is happiness, but I would think that happiness is a very transient occurrence that only happens occasionally. We here in America are especially vulnerable to the siren call of happiness. In a sense, that is why the big corporations are powerful and we are in the mess that we are. We tried to buy the stairway to heaven.
Because to strive for happiness all of the time is a losing game. The truth of the matter is, happiness is a mirage, a brief interlude where things are going just right and Mr. Murphy is no where in sight. Needless to say, most people don't achieve this state all that often.
Contentment is a more achievable goal. It is what is truly possible in this world, and in a sense it is almost diametrically opposed to happiness. I think that the best analogy is the difference between good sex and a good marriage. Good sex is great, it puts a smile on your face and a song in your heart. But no matter who you are, whether a porn star or just a schmuck on the street, it can't really take up that much of your life. A good marriage is a different matter altogether. Sex occurs, but the frequency decreases as the years go by. The marriage is instead taken over by the pleasant day to day contentment of being with a loved one and creating and maintaining a common life. Is sex great? Absolutely. But how many marriages based on sex truly last.
So the key to surviving the coming storm really doesn't center around your preps. They will center around your attitude. If you think that happiness is your goal, you will probably fail and die miserable. If however, you try for contentment, and try to lead a simple, virtuous life within the physical constraints that will be placed on you, you are going to get by.
And in that span of storm years that we will have facing us, you will find the stretches of contentment and the moments of happiness that will show that you have had a good life.