“when i grow up i want to be happy”- little john lennon

Mt. Mansfield from my window November 2020

The story goes that when John Lennon was a child he and his classmates were asked to respond to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, to which he responded, “happy”. His teacher was reported to respond that he did not understand the question. You can see where this predictable education experience is headed. Are we daft? Yes. I believe we truly are; unable to even perceive what is our own best interest.

I admit that I have asked children’s this same question always hoping to find in their answers that which brings them joy projected into their image of their future self. Answers like, “an artist, a farmer, a candy store owner, a veterinarian” always meant to me that the child wants to BE that which makes them happy, creative and in relationship to other people’s happiness. Rambling here, though taken by little John Lennon’s response, “to be happy” and the teachers inability to reframe their own perception in that moment. As I make my way through today, I will be reflecting on what I would like to happen in the future by being firmly rooted in the present- and will also admit that I am unable to perceive what may be in my own best interest because like you, like little John Lennon, the brainwashing began early in my life and was constant in the education, religious and social institutions and contexts I was brought up in.

Today, I’m going to keep turning that stone over and over and see what thoughts come to mind. It’s a beautiful day and I feel blessed to begin it here, on my little island in relative tranquility because as big John Lennon was reported to have said, “happiness is inside you, not with another person”.

May you be well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be free from suffering.

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