Happiness

My Dad has a special dining room chair that only he can sit in. The regular chairs are plain, old, and without ass cushioning, but my Dad has a fancy chair with a large cushion and a carved design on the back. It’s a few inches higher than all the other dining room chairs. His wife (my stepmom) bought it for his birthday.

When my Dad comes home from work around 5PM or so, the house is clean and a pot of tea is ready for him. He drinks his tea and plays with the kids or reads the paper while my stepmom cooks dinner. She cooks dinner at least five nights a week, and during those nights my Dad doesn’t enter the kitchen except to get a glass of water. He doesn’t do any cleaning either, and even if he wanted to there is nothing to do by the time he gets home. Everything she does is to make his life as comfortable and relaxing as possible, setting up a pleasant environment for him to continue providing for her and the kids.

The concept of “me time” is foreign to her; it’s family time twenty-four hours a day. It’s hard even for me to imagine her asking my Dad to watch the kids while she goes out with friends. It doesn’t happen and I don’t think it ever will. If she wants to go out, the kids are going with her.

When I cook my own meals, my stepmom likes to clean up after me as I’m still cooking. I’ve had to fight with her many times to not do my dishes, but she does it anyway. And even if I clean up my own dishes, she thanks me. “Back in Iran, the man doesn’t do any cleaning,” she says to me. She was taught this from a young age. American public schools have taught me to clean up after myself so it feels weird that someone else wants to clean up my mess instead. Well it did feel weird but I’m quickly getting used to the Iranian way of doing things.

I know what you are wondering. “Is she is happy?” I can tell you with very high confidence that she is extremely happy. For a woman who grew up in a small Iranian town, coming to America, marrying a stable provider, and having two healthy children is like hitting the jackpot. I’m sure that there are women here who hit the American jackpot of marrying filthy rich that are much more unsatisfied than my stepmom. Living in a townhouse and driving a four-year-old Toyota to Ikea is the pinnacle of life to her. Imagine that.

In this country there are 17-year-olds whose parents have given them more material wealth than some of us will ever get to see. They have a “family” credit card and live in an upper middle-class McMansion that they travel from in a new car they received for their sweet sixteen birthday. When you have more than 99.5% of what other human beings have before you even start work, your view of life becomes distorted. In creeps entitlement and poor work ethic that affects your consumer habits (nothing is truly valued), how you view fun and pleasure (it can be bought), and how you approach human relationships (people are disposable).

My Dad has been hinting that he wants to return to Iran, but my stepmom keeps telling me how she doesn’t want to go back because she loves life here. Happiness is relative, based on perspective and expectation—thinking too much is detrimental to happiness. Besides, you’ll just hurt your head (existential depression is considered a medical condition). I doubt my stepmom wonders about those bigger questions of life. Are the kids fed? Is the house clean? Is the spouse happy? Is there food and shelter? Then life is great. But for a lot of my peers and countrymen, that simply is nowhere close to being enough.

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Ned
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I really dug this post for some reason

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Great post.

gn
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Sometimes when I’m in one of my boohoo-I’m-depressed moods, I tell myself that whatever I’m feeling is absurd because it wouldn’t even be on my radar of problems if my parents had chosen to stay in the homeland instead of moving here. Happiness is relative, and that is exactly the problem: As much as one tries to put himself in someone else’s shoes, it’s difficult to really understand happiness on a different scale from that on which we were raised.

Except, of course, those who are fortunate enough to go traipsing around the world looking for hot chicks. I mean … the meaning of life.

shmooth
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reminds me of a TED talk on happiness:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/97

also, the paradox of choice:
http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/93

it may be because i’m continuing on the path of manic-depressive activist, but questions of personal happiness don’t sit right with me – they always seem essentially selfish. i could be wrong, but…

i take a certain comfort in knowing that ‘for a lot of my peers and countrymen’ – this sh*t lifestyle we call ‘the American way of life’ is not nearly enough.

azuzuru
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Nice post. There’s something to be said for a woman who knows how to take care of her man and her family.

Arjewtino
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When you have more than 99.5% of what other human beings have before you even start work, your view of life becomes distorted.

Very well put.

Can I come over for dinner?

boc
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GN – it is not “fortunate;” it is a result of hard work, decisions, and personal introspection.

Roissy
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if you ask old women (grandmothers, great grandmothers) what times of their lives were the happiest, what you won’t hear them say is:

– earning my degree
– that fling in rome
– my first multiple orgasm
– all the cock i sampled in my 20s

what they will say is the birth of their children and the years spent raising them.
and you believe them when they say it.

Shep😈✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ
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Shep😈✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ
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As a man, I can also say that supporting my family, raising my children, and the nice things my wife does for me have brought me more joy than earning either degree, any fling anywhere, any sex act ever, any drunken night, or anything else I can remember.
***
My father, who came of age in the early 60s, told me I wouldn’t like kids and family. I would no longer be able to travel, drink, chase women, buy cool things and generally satisfy my selfish interests. I don’t miss any of that, and if I had known how happy I would be with a family, I would have given it up earlier so that I could have had more kids.

diaspora
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Shep, you are a good role model.

Shep😈✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ
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Shep😈✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ
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Thank you my Friend. This has special meaning coming from you.
***
I’ll need to be a good role model until I’m 100 to make up for the bad behavior of my youth.

diaspora
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That’s sincerity, integrity and character. You have a lot to share with your family and friends! I attend daily mass and I’ll keep you and your family in my daily prayers.

Shep😈✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ
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I saw a family with four little kids at Irma’s Burgers last night. They all cared for one another. One of the little girls was leaning on her Daddy’s chest and having a very serious conversation with him.
***
I remember when my kids were small. I was really struck by the place these people were at in their lives. As we left the restaurant, I leaned down to the father and in a quite voice told him what nice family he had. His wife heard and her face was absolutely glowing when our eyes met.
***
I hope my grand kids will take me back to that place.

diaspora
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That’s wisdom! Thanks for sharing! God Bless!

Eastern European
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This behavior is typical for women from most Asian and Middle East countries (I would also include some countries of ex-USSR). The only thing is that young men are dumb enough to understand that – because such a wife is not “cool” enough for them.

bunifah
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Truly managing a household in this way is hard work. Just because it takes place within a family/home doesn’t make it easy. Young women today have little education when it comes to home economics and the like, and are therefore at a deficit when they start a family.

Our grandmothers learned how to organize and take care of a home AND raise children. Yes, usually from experience and observation, but they still knew their stuff.

As a 4.0 feminist, I feel we were shafted. There was no need to devalue the arts and sciences of keeping a home in order to empower women. We invented those things.

tampa
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I bet she wonders “is there ife out there? so much she hasn’t done. Is there life beyond her family and her home?”

Every creature wonders.

Not saying she isn’t happy, but she wonders. I promise you.

And stay at home moms are much more in control then they look.

The role might look sub-serviant, but it is not.

Jewcano
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Tampa, I bet you’re totally wrong. This woman has been at least half way around the world. It’s not like she’s locked in a shed all day. You can see an awful lot of the world in that Toyota on the way to the Ikea.

What exactly is she missing? A wild fling with an exotic foreign man? A fantastically expensive purse with some schmuck’s name on it to carry a dog in? The company of peers obsessed with image and material wealth?

There’s two things here. One of which, reinforced by Tampa, is that there’s some idea that women must aspire to some harlequin-style life of swooning at lustful men and never actually accomplishing anything of consequence. The other, alluded to by Roosh, is that neither men nor women these days are encouraged to put in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage. Not all of us want to live like we’re in an MTV reality show. It’s high time the hard working husband/stay at home wife with two kids and a picket fence thing came back into style.

tampa
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blah blah blah blah blah

maybe she has dreams and aspirations..?

I bet – if you asked her she would say yes.

Maybe she wanted to be a freakin Rockettee… I don’t know.

But every person has dreams and hopes.

contentment is no substitute for aspiration.

you sound like a retard.

SusieQ
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She sounds like the average Indian housewife. They are boring, gossip a lot, are jealous of the career women in the neighbourhood and their sons become mama’s boys.

kayla
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This is true of a lot of cultures outside of our own. Happiness comes from family – whether it’s raising your kids, to taking care of your husband, helping your parents, etc. I think women saying that your stepmom HAS to want more is ridiculous…

Rajia
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Just because something is better than something else, doesn’t make it the best.

I’m not suggesting that she’s unhappy, but happiness IS relative. A dog beaten to a pulp is less happy than a dog who only got one or two good knocks. Doesn’t make beating a dog okay. Everyone should aspire to be a dog who never gets kicked.

I was married to an Arab man whose mother was very much like your stepmother. Then her children grew up and left, and she had nothing left. Her husband worked all the time, she had never cultivated friendships, and had no hobbies or interests outside the home. I remember calls from her, sobbing over how she had nothing left to live for, how she had become useless.

I do a lot for my current spouse, including 90% of the cooking and cleaning, but I do it in collaboration with cultivating my own life and interests. These things do not have to be mutually exclusive. If you do not see value in yourself as a person, but only as how you are able to serve others, eventually you’ll end up lonely.

Sweat P.
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The thing about happiness being relative isn’t just a saying, by the way – research has shown it to be true. There have been studies where people are happier with a smaller absolute amount if it’s more than others are getting, than with a larger absolute amount that is less than others are getting.

Eastern European
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2Rajia

: I’m not suggesting that she’s unhappy, but happiness IS relative. A dog beaten to a pulp is less happy than a dog who only got one or two good knocks.

However only the dog who has been beaten (not necessary by you) could value how you take care of him. The dog who has never been beaten (which everyone should aspire, according to you) just takes it for granted.

: I was married to an Arab man whose mother was very much like your stepmother. Then her children grew up and left, and she had nothing left. Her husband worked all the time, she had never cultivated friendships, and had no hobbies or interests outside the home.

That’s irrelevant. You are trying to mix two different things; being a housewife does not mean having no interests outside the home. I could tell the same story about a woman who had no interest outside her career, and when she suddenly got disabled and could not work anymore she committed a suicide in 6 months.

: If you do not see value in yourself as a person, but only as how you are able to serve others, eventually you’ll end up lonely.

You didn’t get the point. The point was that at least in US a lot of women overvalue themselves as a person – while a lot of them have little to no value. The typical example is pretty nails – this adds a lot to woman’s self-esteem, but adds absolutely nothing to her value. The last part usually is very hard for her to understand, and that’s why I always avoided women who clearly spent more time working on their nails than on the rest of body.

Ciarrai
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Nice post. There’s something to be said for a woman who knows what makes her happy.

Some people aspire to a happy family life with everything that you described. Some don’t…

ilk
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have you asked her?

it’s a wonderful act of imagination to make a judgement on someone else’s aspirations and values..dude, you just never know.

As someone who knows that language can sometimes be an arrangement of “call and response” to get to what you want and of how to finesse a game, how truthful any claims to happiness are or how valid any evaluation of such claims are, doesn’t context play a big part?

Also, millions of people (every gender, varied cultures) have restrictions over what you can complain about.

Can you actually see your stepmom voicing a negative about her situation? (not syaing that there is one, just letting the question stand)

Rajia
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The point is that Roosh made it very clear that his stepmom doesn’t have any “me time”. She lives to make her family happy, and there is nothing wrong with that. Except that eventually her family won’t be there, and then what is she left with? It’s not about overvaluing yourself, it is about placing your worth as something greater than just making other people happy.

I didn’t miss the point at all. You just want to believe that all American women have lost their interest in family. I’m not sure why everyone on here is so intent on knocking down the worth of women. Leave DC once in awhile.

The Dude
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I totally agree with what the last poster said about leaving DC once and a while. I live in a different area of the Northeast. I routinely travel a few hours away to a quiet mountain town in Vermont where there are scads of young people the same age as me and older living as modern day hippies basically. Ironically, most of them seem to have moved up there to enjoy a quiet family life and to have kids, live in the woods, shop at co-ops, and do really basic jobs like working on farms or being craftsman. They seem more happy than most of my friends with MBAs slurping martinis after work with done up bimbos in NYC.

The point that I think most people are missing as the criticize this post is that a lot of people were happy back in the 50s with the very “traditional” version of family life. What’s great now is that people have options. Options: if you want to do the career woman thing- go do it! But keep in mind that for a lot of women the staying home, having kids, running the house thing is what makes them happy– and for those that look at that as their career they can be very fulfilled.

I don’t understand the people who are saying “well they HAVE to wonder!” Listen, I sometimes wonder about being a movie star, but I am not moving to LA…ever. I like living in the northeast, working in a field I love, being close to my family and friends- other than wishing I made as much money as a movie star- I have zero desire to be one. I find it disturbing that people don’t understand that there is not a one size fits all version of happiness.

Levi Bradley
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Last paragraph nailed it. Bit conyroversial some of your other posts though :p

Dirk Diggler
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Good food for thought.

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Shep😈✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ
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Wisdom.
***
I have lived in the third world. There are many happy women and families there.