RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers…

Apparently, you need a new car. A bigger house. A new TV. A sofa. A big kitchen, with shiny metal appliances. A wifi enabled music streaming device that brings you all the music the world has ever produced direct to your ears. You need to eat out, you need to eat in. You need to visit friends. You need to stay at home. You need to have an ethically sourced table made from trees that wanted to be in your house that you never, ever, put your feet on. You need to stop smoking, you need to exercise, you need to go away on holiday to sun drenched beaches that enrich your life with wonder and awe. You need to visit the country and relax in the gentle surroundings of a calm way of life that reminds us of what life once was. You need to have a job earning £50k a year, you need to be busy, you need to be successful.

What a load of bollocks.

I don’t want to preach.  I don’t want to tell you what to do.  I just want to tell you something that I have figured out.  

I have figured out that one person’s definition of success is not the same as someone else’s. What works for you doesn’t work for me.  What works for me may not work for you. 

You see, I have figured out that my definition of success isn’t all those things in listed up there.  They don’t matter to me.  And it is me searching for those things and feeling pressured into wanting those things and feeling that I should want those things that has made me sad.  

So I don’t want them. They are not the things that make me happy.  They are the lines being fed to me by the people who tell me that I should want them, but they aren’t really interested in me.  They tell me I want them because it is in their own interest to want them. 

I want to be happy – hell, it’s the depressives mantra – but even that was wrong.  I don’t want to be happy.  In searching for happiness I am doing the same thing as I am searching for the big car and the stainless steel german washing machine…fighting, struggling, being told.  YOU WILL BE HAPPY. But that’s wrong. By looking for happiness you don’t see what you have and that happiness is not searching, but realising. 

And the sooner I stop wanting happiness, the faster it will happen. Because by not being happy, I am saying this is what i want and I haven’t got it, so I am sad because I haven’t got it. 

So by logic, it comes down to one thing. Don’t want happiness, Alex. Don’t search for it.  Look out of the window at that fantastic view.  Look at what you have and what you do and how you do it and realise that, actually, if you just accept…then it will all be easier.

This may sound like bollocks and may sound like a load of tree hugging-hippy crap, but sod it. I need to write this down. I need to get this sorted in my mind. I need to define it for myself and propose it to myself and agree on it.

And that is what I have done. i am successful by NOT having a fancy car, or a posh house with integrated washing machines and an internet connected fridge that orders my cheese.  I am not going to be happy by searching for happiness.  I am going to be happy by realising that I have all I want. And make my way accordingly.

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10 thoughts on “Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers…

  1. Agreed.

    As William Arthur Ward said … ‘Happiness is an inside job’

  2. Frankie on said:

    I left the RAF in 2006, do I miss it, yes, it was my life for 12 years, my family, my everything, but now, i have a new life, a new family, and am I happy, yes, dont get me wrong things could be better, but isnt that why we do what we do to make things better, but am i happy with what i have acheived, where i am, and maybe where i am going, by choice or in general, Yes. i dont have the expensive car like i did when i was in, but i have the means to get by, and have met some bloody good freinds on the way, i now have a new family, a family of veterans and forces supporters (Royal British Legion Riders – RBLR), so once in a while, we meet up, chew the fat, and laugh about the old times, over a beer or 3.. as well as ride our motorcycles enjoying the roadtrips, or the fetes, anything we can to raise the profile of the Poppy Appeal, its the least I can do for those freinds i have that are still serving, and those we have lost along the way,

  3. I was having similar thoughts yesterday when my hoover broke. My car is also broke and my washing machine is threatening to break. I was really annoyed and felt quite down about it. You see these tribes on documentaries with nothing but mud huts, each other and spears for hunting. They always look happy, dancing and singing. They don’t depend on modern appliances, as long as they’ve got food. they’re all good. I’m sure us westerner’s in a quest to make life easier have over-complicated our lives by becoming over-dependent on modern tools, in turn inflicting misery on ourselves when they break and we can’t afford to replace/fix them- or wanting the best mod cons as if they define our happiness. Which obviously they don’t. Personally I think finding your tribe (the place in which you feel you can be completely yourself without fear of judgement) and having the right support in place is the key to happiness. Which is why the aforementioned tribes are regarded as the happiest people in the world x

  4. Great post Alex. I’m just reading The Antidote: happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking. If you haven’t read it I think you’d find it, at the very least, interesting. http://www.amazon.com/Antidote-Happiness-People-Positive-Thinking/dp/0865479410/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1377259829&sr=1-1 I’m half way through but much of what he has to say chimes very much with your thoughts.

  5. Outstanding post – you really have hit the nail on the head – I am going to take a leaf out of your book

    Many many thanks,


  6. 100% spot on, sir. Trying to follow that path was what landed me in depression in the first place – getting out again required a pretty radical rethink. I feel so much better for being braver, being prepared to tread my own path entirely, being unafraid – in face, quite proud – to not conform. Leave the career ladder to the capitalist nobodies; there’s a better route, and it’ll look even better from the other end, looking back…

  7. Great post and I love your blog, being able to relate to many of your thoughts and experiences……..after 32 years in the RAF…..keep up the good work and stay strong.

  8. Stuart on said:

    I wonder if you have heard of Nick Vujicic. He features on Youtube and has encouraged and inspired many thousands around the world. Maybe he could do the same for you……….I sincerely hope so. Wishing you the very best

  9. I think being happy would be on the top of most peoples lists…but perhaps where we all differ is how we achieve it. Happiness isn’t an overnight fix or a solution you can easily define and pursue…its a process of continuous improvement. I would say I’m happier than I was five years ago…and five years ago I was happier than I was the 5 years prior to that. As long as I don’t move backwards, I’m fine with that. My happiness is much to do with balance in life…work/home, organized/spontaneous push hard/relax etc. However, if the more material things help me achieve an even greater balance then sure I’ll take them. If they interfere in my happiness then they have no place in my life….

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