The Downside of Premature Material Abundance

We all want to be happy, right? But are you happy, or are you just living the life that is supposed to make you happy? Until recently, that was the case for me. Let me tell you more.

 I was born and raised in a very prosperous central European country. For the most part, its citizens are quite wealthy. Even the lower class is rich compared to the rest of the world. The nation has a very socialistic system, in which everybody gets what he needs to survive and more, even if he does not deserve it. Don't get me wrong. I am not against helping people in need. The system I am talking about just asks to be taken advantage of. To better understand the situation, I will give you some specifics.

 The people I am referring to, primarily aims for safety and stability in their lives. After high school, you are supposed to get a degree in law or economics. Then you should try to get employed by government or a successful private company. It is never about what you want to do. It's a lot more about what everybody else things is the right thing to do. You sell yourself and your soul to a collective dream, neglecting your own feelings, passions and nature. Once you occupy one of the popular jobs, you are supposed to stay there until retirement. Making that happen is pretty easy, because once you are in, it is almost impossible to lose your job again. Laziness, chronic illness or incapability will not put your position in jeopardy. While that may sound alluring, I can tell you that there is a downside to it. When everything orbits around safety and stability, then people become very passive. All they care about is having a safe and simple job, earning plenty of money, buying a nice house with a big garage for that fancy car, and traveling to exotic destinations as often as possible. There is no room for challenge, no climbing up the growth curve, and no getting out of the comfort zone. Sounds good? Well, I have been there, and I had to leave that world behind me to find happiness again. Trust me, a golden cage can be very depressing.

 In my mid twenties, I had a job which paid me about $6,000 per month. I had 40 days of paid vacation per year. As my salary was tied to the cost of living, it rose automatically. Also, regulations guaranteed me a pay raise every year. Whether I was giving my very best, or just killing time at my desk, it did not make a difference. I was paid my salary and nobody cared about my performance. I had bought my own apartment and sold it again after two years because I thought a house would make me happier. After having moved into my new house, I quickly noticed that it did not make be happy either. I started looking for happiness in cars, travels, jewelry, watches, woman....but none of these things made me happy. I came to the conclusion that I would rather give that kind of life up and look for a fulfilled life, than grow old and become a miserable, grumpy person. I am not saying that I don't enjoy ease and luxury in life, but I am against selling your soul for it. I think everybody owes to himself, finding a mission in life, which truly makes him happy.

Once I had taken that decision, I had to find a way leading to happiness. That's when it started getting really difficult...

 Have you been in the same situation? What did you do to get out of that trap? I will gradually reveal to you what steps I had to go through, to find happiness again. Nevertheless, I want to hear your stories, please!