Remember when we were kids, we would get so excited for Christmas and birthdays that trying to sleep the night before was nearly impossible. As we got older, we would aspire to own new ‘things’, regardless of whether we needed them or not. The industrial marketing machine was hard at work in the background fooling our brains into thinking it was important that we bought the new TV, new car, or even a new house. But how often after taking the plunge and spending the money, did we find that our feeling of utopia, or just plain happiness, didn’t last for long? I’d wager more times than not.
Regardless of what many people might want to believe, we humans are just animals. We are part of this wonderful, mystical, magical place we call earth where life has blossomed for hundreds of millions of years. Homo sapiens are one of the latest arrivals, and to be honest we are still the new kid on the block. Being an animal, our feelings, our desires, our actions are all results of biology. Happiness is achieved through the release of serotonin by nerve cells which then creates communication between nerve cells. It does much more than making us feel happy, but without it we would all be pretty miserable Victor Meldrew types. However, as serotonin is a chemical, as with all chemicals our bodies can become accustomed to it. Equally our brains can determine how much to release dependent on what we reward the body wants to bestow upon us. It’s because of this that we feel less happy each time we repeat an event that makes us happy. Christmas becomes less important for us and we derive more happiness from watching our children and grand children excitedly opening their presents than we do from opening our own.
In all industries, commercialism eats, sleeps and breaths profit. Our own, countryside pursuits, is no different. Our first gun, first fishing rod, first shoot, first deer are experiences we are unlikely to forget. Our subsequent shoots, stalks, fishing outings, whilst still providing immense joy, become less significant from the occasion before. Fortunately, our pursuits are controlled by seasons which help maintain a degree of excitement for our passions, but it is easy to lose sight of why we do what we do. Its probably built into the human psyche to always think that repeating something that excites us, and rewards us with happiness, will do so each and every time we head out to partake. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. I’m sure there are some people who will protest that every shoot is as exciting as their first, but they are likely to be the few exceptions that prove the rule. For the rest of us, less often means so much more. I excitedly look forward to the opening of all seasons but its rare I head out on day one of any. I’m happy that the time has come but am equally content to wait until the shoot I really want to do, or the fishing trip I really want to cast a line on, comes around. Nearly exclusively, these trips are more about the people I will be sharing them with than the actual event itself, and friends are not something any of us really have lots of. We all have plenty of acquaintances with whom we are friendly, but true friends are a far rarer thing. Less is more!