I find this quotation quite interesting.
“What man actually needs is not a tension-less state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.”
Frankl, Viktor E.. Man’s Search for Meaning (p. 105). Beacon Press. Kindle Edition.
One of the happiest times of my life was when I was fighting hard to achieve a specific position at work, to earn my Masters Degree, and, at the same time, wooing my girlfriend to become my wife. I never slept for two years, and I loved it. Frankl was right, happiness or contentment is not the lack of problems but the struggle to achieve something.
Is it the achievement or the chase? That is an excellent question. I’ve experienced stress sometimes when striving to achieve some thing, but also a sense of fulfillment, a sense of purpose. Perhaps even meaning. Maybe I was too consumed by the struggle to achieve something that all my other “problems” pale. Maybe I just am too busy to think of something to worry about. Maybe it is the thrill of the chase?
Walking down memory lane, I see that the pattern holds. When I am striving to achieve something in my life, struggling even, I am most happy. When I experience moments of “peace”, pools of time when I am technically in a calm peaceful position, I am not happy. Or peaceful inside.
I am not sure where this comes from. I know I have always been like this though. I was born into a home with alcoholic parents, death and fear. I suffered from a severe speech defect, anxiety and fear. But I always was striving to get better. Maybe this is a survival thing. Maybe an arrogance thing.
This is why I detest the word “Retirement”. Where is the achievement? Where is the struggle, the successes along the way? This is why I don’t tell people I am retired. I tell them I am on sabbatical. Or that I am between jobs. Or, I am an undercover CIA operative infiltrating the Grey Panthers terrorist group. Do they still exist? I don’t know.The need to chase something meaningful is strong within me.