Finding happiness

At a recent closing conference luncheon, the next host country, China, provided beautiful scrolls with a different saying on each. There was no notation on the beautiful red box which saying was inside.

Several at my table unfurled theirs to have our Chinese table host read the calligraphy. “Happiness” read a few. “Long life” said the others, including mine. Thinking for a moment, I decided I didn’t want long life unless happiness accompanied it. I didn’t want to be miserable in old age.

So I unrolled the extra scroll at our table and hopefully held it for our host to read. “Long life” she announced. Drat!

I was determined, so I went to an empty table and began untying scrolls. I’d now learned how to tell the difference between the two messages. One after another read “long life.” I could have stopped, but I was searching for happiness!

I carefully retied each scroll as I continued my search. After a dozen or so, finally, happiness was found!
How does this apply to dating — and life?

I was clear on what I wanted and unwilling to compromise. I could have just walked away with long life and taken a philosophical stance that one makes one’s own happiness, no matter what. Sure. Sounds good.

But since I knew I wanted happiness and it was out there, I just needed to put a little effort into finding it. With a little diligence, I found it.

In dating, you can settle for less than you really want and convince yourself you will make it work. Or you can say, “I know what I want and am willing to keep searching until I find it.”

I will now hang both scrolls in my home as a reminder that I can have both, with clarity and persistence. And I hope my future partner realizes that I searched hard to find him to enjoy long life and happiness with him.


Dating after 40: In Search of King CharmingGet your copy of In Search of King Charming: Who Do I Want to Share My Throne?


4 responses to “Finding happiness”

  1. Richard Avatar

    If only dating were so easy. The problem with being over 40 is that there are fewer and fewer empty chairs, let alone ones with scrolls, and most of those scrolls have already been opened and discarded by others looking for the same thing.

    I know what I “must have” and am willing to keep searching until I find it. My “want” list being much longer than “must have”. Then, there is the degree to which a person meets the must have. For instance, if your “must have” is someone taller than 5’10”, would you be willing to accept 5’9″, to compromise a little on your “must have” if they have most everything else on your “want” list?

    What if you find someone that has your “must have”, but very few other things on your “want” list?

    Maybe I’m just saying that I’m willing to settle for less than what I really “want”, but I am also not going to try to convince myself that it is going to work. That is what dating is for, to see if it will work. Just make sure you date long enough that the rose colored tint on your glasses have faded and you can really see the long-term potential.

    Then again, does that fly in the face of: “Don’t marry someone you can live with. Marry someone you can’t live without.” Does that mean: “Don’t accept 2nd best”, or does it mean “Wait until you have become that close”?

    It is nice to have happiness and long life. And I agree that long life without happiness is like not being careful what you wish for. What if your original scroll was Happiness? Would you have searched as hard to find a Long Life scroll? Would you be willing to accept Happiness without long life? Maybe it is a religious thing, but I would.

  2. Lisa Avatar

    After exchanging some smart and funny and witty e-mails with someone from on-line, I met the guy for lunch. I thought we had a very promising “date.” However, he sent me an e-mail saying that although I was EVERYTHING (emphasis mine) he was looking for in a woman, I was too short. I am 5’2″. I looked at his profile and noted he preferred someone 5’4″ or above. He himself was on the tall side, but come on. I am EVERYTHING he is looking for, except I am two inches too short???!!! Maybe men have a bigger pool of prospects to choose from?

  3. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Lisa: I’m afraid the data stacks the deck in guy’s favor.

    You could tell him you’d wear heels! My 6’9″ friend has a 5’2″ girlfriend, but she wears 4″ heels around him!

    Richard –If I’d gotten Happiness first, I wouldn’t have searched as hard for Long Life.

  4. dating Avatar

    Everyone deserve to be happy. Each and everyone of us has his/her own ways to achieve happiness.