Which Gives us More Satisfaction: The Pursuit of Our Desires, or the Attainment of Them?

Happy is a very common and familiar word in the English language. People often say, “I’m happy.”, or “That would make me happy”, and Fairy-Tales often times end in the phrase, “And they lived happily ever after.” The question is, however, which makes us happier, the pursuit of our desires, or the attainment of them? First, that would depend on what those desires are. If those desires are more of a spiritual sort, such as being saved as a true Christian and going to heaven, then yes, the attainment of that desire far outweighs the pursuit of it, simply because there is no sorrow, pain, grief, depression, sadness, and negativity in heaven, period. However, if these are material desires, then the pursuit of material desires is often more satisfying than the attainment of them.

One reason would be daydreaming, and by this, only material items would count, such as an ATV, or a new dress, not a man daydreaming about the girl of his dreams, since that is daydreaming about a person, not an item. People often daydream of their desires, wishing they could have them, but often times when they do daydream, they don’t pay attention to anything else, especially if they are involved in a conversation. Once someone finally acquires that desirable item, all the longing and daydreaming stops, and the item is often just there, not even used often compared to what the person may have dreamed of. Often times the longing and periods of daydreaming last a long time, but the time spent using or owning the item is short, especially if the item breaks or gets misplaced and can’t be found.

Another argument would be that once someone buys something, when do they have time to use it? If one’s schedule is packed and busy, then that person won’t have much time to use that item. An example would be me buying a brand new video game in the middle of summer, since that is the busiest time of year for me. Living on a farm, I have to take our dog outside and exercise him, which is anywhere from a half hour to an hour, water our fruit, vegetable, and herb gardens, which can take up to two hours if I have to water our back field with the pumpkins and sunflowers and if I am doing the job alone, let our chickens out, which takes around an hour and a half, especially if I have to bring a new fifty-pound bag of feed over to the coop, eat lunch, do the dishes, vacuum (on Wednesdays), and check on our chickens again for a half hour, so by the time I finish my chores it’s three o’ clock to even five o’ clock in the afternoon, which may leave me around two and a half hours at maximum, and is interrupted by cleaning up after dinner, which takes around fifteen minutes, the time is still a good chunk, but that would only be on days that I stayed home in the summer.

If this desire is finally winning a game at scrabble against one’s parents, well, a victory in scrabble, or any board game is just a moment (unless one is playing in the chess Olympics or a tournament) and the game lasts two hours. I have had a similar experience when trying to win against my mother at Pente (a type of board game), and a fair victory lasts only a moment, when the game is a fun experience as a whole, not just a single victory, which is one moment that lasts around a minute or two at the most. There can almost always be a more amazing kind of “comeback” victory or a more swift one in many board games, especially ones that rely purely on strategy, Chess, Checkers, Chinese Checkers, Pente, Scrabble, Diplomacy, Stratego, and any other board game without elements of chance such as dice or cards can have this.

Another point to mention is that items may be made cheaply and break, or they may be missing parts that may be important to the item and they aren’t commonplace like a pair of batteries or cookware. If the item is expensive, such as an ATV, for example, and the vehicle is missing a sparkplug, then one has to put a sparkplug in, and since not everybody can do that, one would have to pay someone, if he doesn’t have any friends who can put a new one in, he is screwed and should return the vehicle if he can’t find a reasonably good price to put the part in the vehicle. If the item is a grill, and the grill doesn’t cook steaks evenly and some parts are raw while others are overcooked, and that person really wanted a grill, he would have to return the grill and buy another if he could.

An argument from the other side of the wall would be that feeling of completeness that is attained when someone acquires an item, which is a feeling that comes from the acquisition of an item of significant importance, such as for me, I had always wanted a globe since I was around three years old, and a decade later I have two globes, a good number of atlases and an immensely massive geographic knowledge acquired from almost entirely reading books and atlases. Those globes, however, I rarely use, one reason being that I have shifted sources from globes to atlases, and the other being that the globe is outdated since South Sudan isn’t on the globe. Another example would be people, including my stepfather Tyson, wanting this new version of a phone really bad, buying it, and then a year or two later they release another version and that person sells his old phone, which works perfectly fine, and takes his money and buys a new one, and a lot of the time the phone is junk, and that person has to stick with the phone until he can pay for a new one. One may feel complete, but that feeling usually doesn’t last a long time or comes in (this is in my case) surges, such as at one point devoting one’s free time to one particular interest and then devoting it to another interest a few months later, and not stick with the item. This is human nature, we change our hobbies and interests as time passes.

In conclusion, the pursuit of one’s desires, except for spiritual desires, are more satisfying than the attainment of them. Often times the pursuit of happiness can last longer than the attainment of our worldly desires, as us humans shouldn’t be selfish and focus on worldly objects, since we will never have everything we want at once, we can’t, our nature changes as we grow as people. As time passes, we change, and our desires one year from now may be completely different from today. We may not even have time to use our desired item, such as if a steamfitter who had bought a new ATV, despite the fact he is working ten-hour shifts and commutes an hour each way without traffic and by the time he arrives home it’s six o’ clock in the evening and he has to eat and go to bed so he can wake up at four in the morning to go to work, some weeks six days a week, he barely has any time to use his new ATV. Worldly items may break or must be sold for a variety of reasons, such as if we have no room for them, or we need money and are in debt. When dealing with a victory in a board game, a victory is only a moment, while a game is much more than that, and lasts many hours or days even. That feeling of completeness is only initial since for many of our worldly desires, as I said before, change from time to time. Charles Spurgeon was right when he said, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”

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