“My friends are gone! …and, my hakuna matata went with them!”
– Timon, The Lion King 1½
This side-story of the original animated classic The Lion King is an outrageously funny parody, but it still has some emotional weight to it.
Timon, the primary lead alongside Pumbaa, is a meerkat who always wanted more than he was born into. Specifically, he wanted to live in a better place, without either endless work or endless fear. He wanted it so much that it drove him to distraction and put his entire extended family at risk, and so it drove him from his home as well, out into the dangerous world. Along the way, he became familiar with the iconic phrase, “hakuna matata,” meaning “no worries.” This became his goal, and his lifestyle, once he found a safe, prosperous place to live. But then his carefree days ended when his friends went away, and the prize he had searched so hard for was suddenly gone.
That’s when he says the above line, when he realizes why his happiness is gone. He’d mistaken his search for happiness for a search for stuff, but, really it was who he shared it with that made it so good.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting something better for yourself, and for those around you. Greater prosperity and safety are good things to pursue. But that, alone, does not make for a lasting happiness. You can own the entire world, with no one to threaten you, but it does you little good when you are alone.
We need friends, and we need family. We need love.
Love, by very nature, comes with worries.
Caring comes with cares, and so no happy life is ever entirely carefree. We can aspire to peaceful, joyful, comfortable lives, but not really carefree ones. Not if we want what matters most, because what matters most isn’t stuff, it’s people.
Mind you, I am not a particularly social person, but, still, I consider it the greatest blessing of my life to have so many good people around me, my family and friends. They may not make my life carefree, ever, but they are still my hakuna matata.