“Nine requisites for contented living:
Health enough to make work a pleasure. Wealth enough to support your needs.
Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them. Grace enough to confess
your sins and forsake them. Patience enough to toil until some good is
accomplished. Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor. Love enough to
move you to be useful to others. Faith enough to make real the things of God.
Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.” — Johann
Wolfgang von Goethe


“Contented living” means different things to different people.
Martha Washington suggested, “The greater part of our happiness or misery
depends on our dispositions, and not our circumstances.” The notion is
that being happy is an internal experience and not an external condition. As
Aristotle put it, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.” Carlos Castaneda
believed, “We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work
is the same;” and Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To get up each morning
with the resolve to be happy is to set our own conditions to the events of each
day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by
them.” Woody Allen said, “The talent for being happy is appreciating and
liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.” Seneca expressed the
same perspective in his typically pithy way, “A man can refrain from
wanting what he has not and cheerfully make the best of a bird in the hand.”


What, then, is your bird in the hand? It’s health, wealth, and
strength; grace, patience, and charity; love, faith, and hope. Having those,
Andre Gide advises, “Welcome everything that comes to you, but do not long
for anything else.” Enough is enough; and you have enough, enough of what
you need to be happy. You need not seek more nor waist time talking further
about it, for as Holbrook Jackson said, “Those who seek happiness, miss it; and
those who discuss it, lack it.”


Are you skeptical? Do you have your doubts? Do you see it
differently? It’s as Leo Tolstoy admonished, “Happiness does not depend on
outward things, but on the way we see them.” There you go. Do you see yourself
as happy; or do you see yourself as unhappy? You start each day with the
opportunity to choose. How you choose is your call. Decide to be happy or not,
it’s up to you; and the truth of the matter is that you are the only one who
actually cares.