The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Happiness starts from within

There are times when I wonder why so many people in this world try to fool themselves into doing so many unnecessary things. Take one example that I see repeatedly.

You walk into your fitness club to go for a short run and maybe pick up a few weights. During this process you meet a really nice, slim woman that goes there repeatedly. Every time you see her, she’s doing some strenuous exercise and seems to be physically wearing down each day. You ask her why she pushes herself so hard and she replies, “I have to lose more weight.” Little do you know, she weighs about 120 pounds and is a few inches over five feet.

What’s the problem here? What gets into this woman’s mind that she has to lose more weight when she’s already at an ideal one to most people?

Then, of course, you realize the problem when you pass by a magazine rack. About half of the subjects involve some technique to help a person achieve perfection, whether it’s through weight loss or increasing muscle mass.

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And the sad part is, people buy this. Society is never satisfied with anything. People see these tips for improving their workout to achieve “washboard abs,” yet no one truly steps back and asks the question “why?”

Why do I need washboard abs? Why do I need to lose more weight when I’m already in good shape? Why do I need arms like a professional body builder? Why?

Few ask this question, and when they do, they tend to find some sub-par answer like impressing someone else or having a tougher-looking exterior. And yes, there are always exceptions and many people have valid reasons, but many do not.

The root of this problem extends beyond society’s demand for perfect citizens or the media’s influence. It all comes down to people not being happy with their lives.

Let’s look at another example. You have a college student who has a profound talent in art. He loves drawing, but has strayed away from it in college to pursue a degree in accounting. You ask this person why he wants to go into that field when he has such a great passion for art. He looks at you and replies, “Art doesn’t make money, so I need to do something that will.” You ask this guy if he enjoys accounting and he tells you that he can’t stand it.

Truth is money does not equal happiness, no matter what someone tells you.

Not surprising is it? Putting off something you love for money. Money is known to do that because so many people associate money with happiness.

The truth is money does not equal happiness, no matter what someone tells you. It’s so tempting to believe that it does, especially when you turn on VH1 or MTV late at night to see the screen plastered with how celebrities throw parties that cost more than an average person’s lifetime earnings.

Don’t get caught up with all of that. Some of those celebrities may have everything they ever dreamed of from a wealth standpoint, but do they ever live a normal life? Do they get privacy? Do they have much say over the things they do day in and day out? Do they truly enjoy the pressures of stardom?

Most of those stars aren’t happy with their lives. You can’t tell me that Usher keeps his godly-sculpted body without constant, vigorous training or Christina Aguilera keeps her thin composure by eating anything she wants. People need to stop looking at celebrities for happiness and start looking at that beautiful person in the mirror.

I’m a journalism major and the average salary I can expect for my college education at a daily is somewhere close to $27,000 annually. In today’s world, that doesn’t sound too promising, especially when prices on everything appear to be skyrocketing.

But ask me if I’m worried and I’ll tell you the same thing every time – no. Why should I be? I’ll be able to go into the real world of journalism and try to make an impact on it. Most importantly, I’ll be doing something I’m very passionate about.

Maybe it sounds crazy to some. Maybe I should have majored in something more promising from a money standpoint. Maybe … no forget it, why bother listing all of the should have, could have, would have. I can stand by my decision without regret.

It is my sincere hope that people think about happiness as a true form of success and don’t get trapped in the money stereotype.

In the end, people need to be happy with themselves in order to find true happiness and success. When I go to sleep at night, I’m happy with the decisions I’ve made, past and present … and that’s more than many people honestly can admit.

Slater is a senior print journalism and history major and a chief copy editor of The Spectator.

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Happiness starts from within