Years ago, Steve Martin famously opined on Saturday Night Live his wishes for the world:

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If I had one wish that I could wish this holiday season, it would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace.

If I had two wishes that I could wish for this holiday season, the first would be for all the children of the world to join hands and sing in the spirit of harmony and peace.. and the second would be for $30 million a month to be given to me, tax-free in a Swiss bank account.

You know, if I had three wishes that I could make this holiday season, first, of course, would be for all the children to get together and sing.. the second would be for the $30 million every month to me.. and the third would be for all encompassing power over every living being thing in the entire universe.”

All fine wishes, yes? (And if you agree, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have a seat for you in their Triumvirate Ring). Achieve these three wishes and Steve is a HAPPY dude for life!

Are you happy, someone asks? What do you wish for?

How about the Arabian Nights and the wishes granted to Aladdin by the genie?

“Fetch me something to eat!” was Aladdin’s first modest request… the wishes went uphill algorithmically from there.

WISH WISH WISH….

We spend a good part of our lives wishing… wishing for health, wishing for wealth, wishing for a nicer car, wishing for a bigger house, wishing for bigger breasts or a longer penis.

Wishes, like goals and dreams, can be wonderful and full of hope and motivating power.

Yes, wishes fill us with hope.

Conversely, wishes can be deceptive and harmful, contradictory even… this morning, as I walked outside, feeling a bitter windchill on my face, I was wishing that spring would come sooner… while simultaneously wishing that time wouldn’t pass so quickly. So, which one is it Larry?

Here’s the big question. Do fulfilled wishes equate to happiness? Wishing is, at its core, about seeking happiness, isn’t it?

Wishes can be practically realistic or nonsensical wistful thinking.

Every wish we make is anchored in the belief that we will be happier if that wish is achieved. Happily Ever After stuff…. *cue Jiminy Cricket and When You Wish Upon A Star

And everywhere I look… I see, hear and read that people are searching for happiness like it’s the Holy Grail.

HAPPINESS = HOLY GRAIL? The futile search…

It comes down to definition, maybe semantics, for me…

When someone asks: are you happy? What do you say?

My answer would likely come out as something like: hmmmm, right now? this minute? or do you mean all of the time? in all aspects of my life?

You see, continuous happiness isn’t a permanent state. How can it be?

I’m not convinced that happiness should be a permanent state. When you’re given a cancer diagnosis, are you in a state of bliss? When you fail your driving test, are you overflowing with joy?

Of course not… you’re hearing the Eagles singing in your head:

There’s a hole in the world tonight.

There’s a cloud of fear and sorrow.

There’s a hole in the world tonight.

Don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.

I guess I seek out contentment more than happiness… contentment is a temporary state and tells me if I’m in a good place in one or more areas of my life. Contentment is sipping from the Holy Grail knowing that the cup won’t always be full… can’t always be full.

It’s a bit like splitting hairs… I think wishing is about creating a sunny break of contentment. The sun breaks through and we enjoy and appreciate the warmth of the moment for as long as it lasts.

When I’m living in a moment of equilibrium – good health for myself and my loved ones, stable finances, and healthy, happy interpersonal relationships – I am largely in a state of contentment. Bliss. Nirvana. These are the legs of my personal stool of stability.

Take away any of the legs of this stool and my contentment quotient drops. The sun is hidden by cloud. My Wish List changes from the ephemeral (toys, bells, and whistles) to the basic and essential. I am not content until sunny equilibrium returns.

I’d like to adopt the great and all-powerful Steve Martin’s wish list but might add one more item for contentment…

…yes, unlimited no-calorie chocolate and cheesecake… and of course… for all the children of the world to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace.

What kind of a beast do you take me for?