“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” – Albert Einstein
We are a family of four who are selling our house to travel around the world. When telling people about our plans, I will often quip that my husband and I decided to have our mid-life crises together. However, like most jokes, there is truth to it. Around forty is when many of us start really worrying about living lives of quiet desperation. We start asking questions like, “Am I happy?” and “Is my life fulfilling?” and some of us become more insufferable about it than others. (Of course, we all hope we aren’t that person, but someone is, right? To paraphrase Ann Landers, think of your three closest friends; if they aren’t insufferable, then you’re the one.)
One of the problems I’ve always had with these types of questions and the whole concept of “finding yourself” is that it often seems to include losing any sense of responsibility to others. I am amazed at the amount of time some people devote to getting to know themselves. And yet, when I think of the people in my life that I most admire, it was looking outward, not inward, that seemed to get them there. In the end, I feel like these self-serving questions don’t even help get people to the happiness they are seeking. I’ll admit I don’t know what questions to ask instead, at least not yet, but I think I know which direction to look to find them.