“I thought I’d get this new TV, and everything would be just peachy.”
Those were the words my mother uttered a few years ago. She’d brought home a new big-screen TV she’d purchased at Target that morning. It was like seeing a child on Christmas Day — her face lit up as she and my sister opened the box and saw the shiny flat screen.
There is a story behind this television that seemed to have cast its own sort of spell on my mother. She had been wanting a larger television for a couple years. She would go to Walmart or Target, and more times than not, she’d find herself in the electronics section, her head tilted back and her eyes gazing longingly at the huge televisions. She was certain a new, fancy TV would instantly make her happy and content. And that’s how we found ourselves installing that shiny new set one Friday afternoon. After a game of musical TVs in which we replaced our old set with the new one and spent quite a bit of time figuring out where each wire went, we were ready for the big unveiling. It was time to hit the power button.
She had finally found the television of her dreams. Or so she thought. An hour later, after much debate, the old set was back in its place. The new, shiny set had been repackaged and was ready to be returned to the store.
“I knew I shouldn’t have gotten that TV,” she said. “That was just too much.”
Now, I’m quite certain that she wasn’t speaking strictly in monetary terms here. By afternoon’s end, she was spent (no pun intended) and even unhappier — and a tad crankier, might I add — than before she bought the very item she thought would bring her joy. It just wasn’t what she thought it would be, my mom said later. What’s more, it didn’t make her as happy as she thought it would. So I told her that maybe, just maybe, the whole experience wasn’t really about the TV. She scoffed at this, but deep down, I think she’d agree with me.
It might even happen to you more times than you realize. Things in life like this usually do. Sometimes the things you think will make you happy don’t in the end. It might be that you were just fixating on what you thought would be the be-all and end-all to your happiness. Maybe you do it because you’re unhappy. Maybe you’re looking to fill a void. Maybe you even do it for a reason you might never fully understand. But you do know one thing: The route you were taking to happiness wasn’t working for you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive for happiness. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop looking — even if you don’t know yet exactly what it is your looking for. Maybe all it takes is looking in other places, in the company of other people, even in yourself. And definitely not through the bright glare of the television screen. Something tells me you’ll find that happiness eventually. And when you do, you’ll know it’s right.
[Photos via We Heart It]