George A. Yesthal

Enough…is heaven. Let me explain.

I had never been less happy than when I had plenty and was ever acquiring more. I was ensconced in an ideology that I had to set goals that solidified only when something or someone was acquired. This became a kind of paradoxical paradigm that precluded intrinsic personal happiness and a sense of peace. To explain, I have to take you back.

At first, I came into the workforce straight out of high school and did some adventuring and traveling, but soon realized that I could only do so on a hobo level if I did not acquire money and this was my first concrete realization that to be satisfied it required at I ACQUIRE.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was developing a transient mind-set in which I was never truly happy in the moment, but always looking forward to the promise of happiness in the future. If I wanted some item, I had to work for it. If I wanted to travel, I had to work to sock away enough money to do it. So essentially what I was doing was convincing myself that the happiness would come when I achieved my goal, which it did in varying degrees but was, in the end, fleeting at best, because when the Item was acquired or the adventure played out, I would have to begin the process anew. This I term transient happiness, which only mimic’s true happiness at best.

Before long I fell into the grind of always selling my time for the promise of fleeting happiness. I eventually got all the things I thought would bring me happiness; I created three thriving businesses, a nice house, cool vehicles, wine, women and song, etc. But the more of these things that I acquired, the more of my time I had to sell to keep them and so happiness became something almost cyclical with the prize always at the other side of the circle with, as chance would have it, the happiness. And the odd thing was, if asked if I was happy, I would have answered in the affirmative without batting an eye when, in fact, all I was doing was chasing happiness.

Then due to the failing economy and patently bad decisions on my part I lost it all and went through the kind of despair that most of us would see as logical after such a loss and the reason for the despair was that instead of ever possessing actual joy and happiness, I was reposing a happiness proxy in all the possessions and when they were gone, so was my “happiness”. Fortunately, and you’ll understand later why I say this, I drank myself into a rehab on a steady diet of bitterness and self pity. I was supposed to stay twenty eight days but wound up staying three months. I realized, while there, that if I was ever going to achieve real happiness it would have to start with understanding who I was and why I’d done the things in my life the way I’d done them.

The answer sucked, but it was something I had to face. I’d done things of poor conscience and was experiencing an underlying guilt which only served to confound my ability to make the right decisions and running away from the consequences fueled the momentum for all the other bad decisions I’d made in my life and when the consequences of my actions caught up with me, they were so hard to take that I started self medicating and I would never achieve change, let alone happiness if I didn’t come to grips with it all and get honest with myself.

My time at rehab was a blessing because I got into a good one and the counselors there were the kind of people who knew when to listen and when to direct and just how much. All and all it was a kind of sabbatical and was definitely a spiritual awakening for me.

I have since developed medical complications from heart problems, diabetes and arthritis that sent me into retirement a little early on disability. I subsist on under a thousand dollars a month, own very little, do not have a significant other…and yet I am happier than I have ever been in my life because what I do have is time and peace of mind and the love and support of the best family a man could ask for. I can’t express eloquently enough how precious these things are. I have had time to reconnect with my kids and family and now share a home with my daughter and grandson. I watch my grandson when his mom is at work and help him with his home schooling and am generally getting to see and help him grow up. We go head to head sometimes, but that’s all part of it. I have time to dedicate to my writing and some artwork, which was something that, if I wanted to develop in the past, I would have to steal the time for.

I have very little now in the way of possessions, but I also want for very little. I am reminded of when Jesus taught that, to find true happiness, it is wise to live as a minimalist. Call me thick but at my age (born in 1951), I am finally understanding that philosophy and because of that, I have become a much more spiritual person. I finally am happy in the moment. In many ways, I am truly blessed. I’ve relaxed and come to realize that the things that truly bring happiness can’t be bought; the love of family, the air we breathe, the beauty of nature and…



George Yesthal

Brodheadsville, United States

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