Recently, when feeling nostalgic, I dug out and read a book of poems that I wrote a decade ago, when I was a sixth former. One poem, ‘Finding a Meaning’, struck a genuine chord with me, especially with regard to my current outlook on life, which is shaped by a limited income, hair loss, the lack of a partner, still living at home and the feeling of having failed in life compared with my peers. My present situation has left me feeling angry, fearful, unfulfilled and worried.
I am not looking for sympathy, and I know that only I can change my personal circumstances. However, what struck me when I re-read ‘Finding a Meaning’, written as it was a decade ago, is that the personal search for what makes us happy and contented is genuinely ongoing in nature. I guess that, during the past few years, which have left me feeling stuck in a rut, I have romanticised my time as a school pupil, student, and the period during which I was living and working in another part of the country, to the point that I have forgotten that, although I was largely happy, I was subject to internalised fears and uncertainties. These were as significant an issue a decade ago as they are for me today. Without wanting to reduce what I or anyone feels to a sound byte, when it comes to finding happiness or fulfilment, the search is genuinely ongoing.
Finding a Meaning
Why do I worry?
Why do I fear?
What gives me anger?
For me, what is fulfilment?
What will lead me to happiness?
For what do I hope?
It is vital to have hope
To save us from worry
And to ensure happiness
And to counter our fear
To help us find fulfilment
And to end our anger
From what do we draw our anger?
Is it from a lack of hope?
Or from not finding fulfilment?
Or is it a result of our worry?
It is a wonderful thing, happiness
It helps to take away our anger
That is, until it becomes threatened by fear
Can it be kept alive by hope?
It can help to stave off worry
And lead to a sense of fulfilment
It helps us live, fulfilment
And helps us find happiness
But, it can be damaged by worry
And eroded by anger
It can only lead to more hope
Or can be thrown out by anger
It is a horrible thing, the idea of fear
It limits our fulfilment
It makes us want to give up hope
And will stop our happiness
It controls our emotions like anger
And only leads to further worry
When we worry, all we have left is hope
When we seek fulfilment, we can be stopped by fear
When we feel anger, we can’t find happiness.