Sunday, December 11, 2011

Today's fortune: December 11, 2011

Today's fortune: Stop searching forever, happiness is just next to you.

I had a wave of implausible nostalgia today. The song "Abraham, Martin and John" started to play on my AccuRadio station, and all of a sudden I was thinking back to a critical time in American history, perhaps the most pivotal year in this nation's recent past: 1968.

Of course, 1968 was eleven years before I was born.

But what I've seen, read and heard about that year almost feels like a memory to me. (Is that crazy? Perhaps, and I fully acknowledge it.)

'Sixty-eight was the year they killed Martin Luther King, and later Robert F. Kennedy. The Vietnam War was in full bloom and Richard Nixon was charging on to the scene. Hippie culture was taking hold and the space race was bringing America one step closer to the moon - and the heart of the Cold War. And just think about the music of that time - Elvis Presley was making a comeback, The Beatles were on the verge of a bad breakup, Hendrix, Joplin and The Who were on the path to Woodstock, and Simon & Garfunkel, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, James Brown, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones were laying down some funky tracks.

It's probably a lot different for people who were there. My parents lived through the '60s, and in 1968 my dad was a year away from serving in the Air Force and his girlfriend, a young Marilyn Ruettgers, was helping him with his college homework. I've asked them in the past what they remember about 1968, and the center of Missouri, like many rural areas, was not affected by the culture of the '60s as other parts of the country. But I do know my dad had long hair, which was a source of frustration for my mother's father, who happened to be the town barber.

As I was thinking about all this today, I recalled my fortune: "Stop searching forever, happiness is just next to you." I was searching in the past for a form of happiness, and I had forgotten I had built a pretty darned happy life for myself in 2011. We don't have the Space Race, but our scientists are making medical breakthroughs every year. We don't have Jimi and Janis and Ray, but we have U2 and Jay-Z and Gaga. We don't have the Kennedys, but we have Obama.

And not to mention, I have my wife, my family, my cats, a great job, and hey! Christmas is right around the corner. Yes, happiness is right here.