Why are we constantly seeking a better life?

When Little Princess turned 10 months old, I decided to bring her on a bus ride to a shopping complex N to get my favorite chocolate cake for a celebration.

The celebratory cake was considered cheap yet the taste was above average.

I also wanted to print photos at 25 cents/4R but the shop was relocated to the atrium and no photo printing service was available. I also brought Little Princess to a toy shop KP and a book shop P. Unfortunately, I could not find any cloth-made photo album for Little Princess to gaze at Little Prince and me while we would be separated miles away.

There were many, so many people [1] that I every eatery place had a long queue after I finished feeding Little Princess and got myself a $1.1 salty dough as I started to feel dizzy [2].

Therefore, I decided to take away a chili crab spaghetti costing $10.9. There were real crab meat, but I found that the chili was too hot for me.

Many shops in N were undergoing renovation. While I walked fast to avoid the smells of chemicals involved in renovation, I thought of workers in the line of renovation, inhaling dusts, paints, etc that are detrimental to health in the long run.

Since I could not find a toilet with a baby seat, the urge to pass a urine made me to hasten my trip.

We waited long, very long for the return bus. To make it worse, there were many buses dropping workers releasing exhausts and smokers nearby. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for such a bus at such a bus stop daily.

While the trip to N woke me up to the harsh reality of the competitive and crowded world we live in, I tried to count my blessings. I am thankful for

  • the affordable celebratory cake
  • the nursing room
  • a lady offered me a seat on the bus home
  • relatively safe place (while I read about pickpocket cases in the local news, there were minimal cases of molests, no robberies)

While gratitude is one of my declared chief values, I wonder why I am constantly seeking a better live.

Many things in life are relative and most things change, including ourselves and our world.

While Honey Panda observed that I am easily influenced, we all are grounded by our own history, cultural traditions, and social expectations, to a certain extent.

 

According an Estonian-American neuroscientist Jaak Panskepp, the author of Affective Neuroscience, human brain has the following instincts:

  • anger
  • fear
  • panic-grief
  • maternal care
  • pleasure/lust
  • playfulness
  • seeking [3], which involves dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward, pleasure, as well as planning.

It is the act of seeking or pursuing, a fulfilling activity itself, that propels arts and sciences forward. There will always be new medium of expression, new things to create (particularly in light of the changes of the world we live in), new ideas to communicate, and the list goes on for artists. Similarly, there will always be new questions to be  answered, new hypothesis to be tested, new discoveries/innovations to make, and the list goes on for scientists.

It seems that anything new and wanted in life (such as a job, a cloth, or a lover) is exhilarating until the effects wear off through habituation.

Often, we forgot to consciously feel happy in our daily activities such as eating meals, chatting with a friend or a family member, enjoying a nap, or receiving a compliment. A 1978 study (I hope there would be more recent studies shedding more novel insights) surprisingly suggested that recent accident victims felt happier doing those daily activities than the lottery winners did.

 

***

[1] Before I completed my undergraduate degree, I wanted to visit places like New York City and Hong Kong. Now, I prefer tranquil places, with some but not to many people. People change, including me.

[2] Since the second trimester of carrying Little Princess, I started to feel hungry often. Perhaps, I have indigestion.

[3] It reminded me on The pursuit of happyness that depicts the struggle of Chris Gardner, a single father who was homeless but persevered to succeed.

 

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