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When the World Cup ends

2010-07-01 09:47
Feel it. It is here. Now what?

I really didn’t expect to be as swept up by the World Cup as I’ve been so far. The idea of putting my life on hold for a month while 32 countries battled it out for ultimate glory just didn’t sound like my kind of thing. And yet that didn’t stop me from waking up giddy on Friday 11th June like a child eager to see what Santa had brought. The atmosphere is “infectious” for a reason!

What I’ve found most fascinating so far has not been the surprise victories or shocking defeats but the reactions to all that and much more. Our country was in collective euphoria after the first goal in the first game only to have that replaced by anger in the loss to Uruguay and despair after the victory over France wasn’t enough to see us through to the next round. Rationally, it might seem a little strange that control over the individual emotions of millions was relinquished to a handful of strangers. But is it really that odd?

Fact is we do it all the time. We constantly turn outward in an attempt to find happiness. As long as things are going a certain way, we feel good; the minute they change, we don’t. That’s why so many of us chase after the perfect relationship or perfect career. We’re convinced that those things, much like the outcome of a sporting event, will make life better. Will it really? Perhaps.

The only problem with relying on outside forces to make you happy is that you never quite know what to expect. Things might go exactly the way you want or they might crash and burn leaving you left to pick up the pieces.

Don’t get me wrong; the feelings we get from external experiences do have meaning. My only concern is that we become obsessed with those “highs” and constantly crave ways to get it again once it’s gone. That’s why our society is crippled with addictions to food, alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, money, the internet, and TV. Nobody seems to take the time to find the happiness that comes from within because we’re too busy trying to find it somewhere else. And even if we do, we know it’s only a matter of time before it comes to an end and we’re searching for something else.

Even if Bafana had overcome all odds and won the World Cup, would all the flags really fly forever? How soon would it be before we got bored of being patriotic and decided to find something else to make us feel good?

Two weeks from now, the World Cup will be over and we’ll have to go back to normal lives of nuclear disarmament and high electricity bills.

But rather than find new distractions to sidestep all the issues we know we should be paying attention to, perhaps now’s a good time to deal with them once and for all. Perhaps now’s a good time to finally realise that the only happiness we can count on is the happiness that comes from within.

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