Actually happiness depends in large part on the quality of one’s activities of distraction. Life is a very scary proposition. There are a million and one ways one might be suddenly struck down dead, from a heart attack to being run over by a bus.

Thus much about one’s activities are a distraction from death. Now of course the fact that most folk’s distractions do such a bang up job in this regard they seldom make the connection that activities are, indeed,a distraction from one’s fear of death.

I mean when, say, a writer is fanatical engaged in laying out character and plot, he or she is often so much distracted by pure creativity as to feel almost invincible. Thus falling into distractions that fully consume one’s attention is about as close to paradise as it gets. Passionate, romantic love is easily one of those great all consuming distractions that when they end, it can feel like life itself has ended.

Alas, when distractions falter without replacement, as is so often the case, life can suddenly become both scary and depressing.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store