Ways to be (UN)happy
If I were to tell you that the furtive paths to a gratified existence lay ahead, I would hope you would respond, “well that’s some bullshit.” To declare that one has the “secret” to happiness is both arrogant and illogical. How any one person’s claim to a joyful and content life could ever be universally applied to everyone is beyond me. However, I have listed some sure-fire ways to increase the amount of lemons life has dealt out; and perhaps you can waltz away from this at least knowing exactly what NOT to do to make an already naturally trial-filled time on this planet any more difficult.
You exist. I’m pretty sure that’s a somewhat generic truth among the human species. With, or without your friends. Independent of the people and images you see on TV. YOU exist. That means being able to define yourself without reference to any other being (except God, according to some). The key to happiness will never lie in knowing or believing you are intelligent, beautiful, funny, spiritual…but not as much as the much as the next person. The truth is, there will always be someone more attractive, talented, outgoing, etc. The trick is not to go through life ignorantly believing you are the best at everything, because that’s wrong. As much as the word on the street is that the key to happiness means having the utmost confidence, being unrealistic never got anyone anywhere (except maybe Don Quixote). The secret is to simply acknowledge who you are. Embrace your strengths; shit, embrace your weaknesses. Take in the strong suits and traits of admiration you see in others. But don’t ever degrade your own value because you have somehow deemed theirs to be greater. That’s a certain way to add some more “downs” to the shitty and wonderful roller coaster we call life.
“What do you want?...BUT WHAT DO YOU WANT??!!” My friend was looking at me like I was a fucking psycho because, at the time that I was asking him this, my voice was in crescendo and my eyes were starting to pop out of my head. Needless to say, I was feeling quite impassioned. His birthday was coming up, and we were having the classic quarter-life crisis talk about what we wanted from our lives, and where we saw ourselves heading. He came upon the point that he, “felt like he should be thinking about marriage soon, and children.” “Why?,” I asked him. “Is that what you want?” To which he replied, “It just seems like what I should be doing.” Thus ensued my raging dramatic rant. But seriously, what fucking sense does that make?! It’s hard enough trying to decide what it is you truly want to do in life, now you gotta worry about what the hell it is you’re supposed to do/want?! That’s a bit much, don’t ya think? Figure out what EXACTLY it is you desire/need to do. You may not know by the time Career Day happens in 9th grade. You may not know until you’re 48. But shit, it’ll take you a hell of a lot longer to figure it out if you’re trying to factor in what it is you’re parents/teachers/peers/pastors/president all expect you should be doing. DON’T define it in anyone else’s terms but your own.
I think everyone can agree that a little planning can go a long way. Sure, in an effort to save some money, map out what you’re gonna eat for lunch that week. Need that vaca with your compadres to go off without a hitch? No problem. You can solidify every detail of your 6-day/5-night excursion out of the Fucksville known as your city. Think about your life. Decide what it is you believe will bring you happiness, then come up with a plan to get there. Maybe what will bring you happiness could possibly be 7 different scenarios. Pick one to start with. Or maybe it’s even possible that, in order to be happy, you believe you need to accomplish 4 of those 7 paths. So do it. The point is, make a fucking move to do something. You can keep delving deep into yourself and rethinking and rethinking your purpose in life, and in the meantime, get so caught up that you never end up actually accomplishing anything! None of that pressure of the youth bullshit, either. It’s perfectly ok to not know what it is you need to be doing until your 47. But the second you realize what it could be, and plan how it could come about, start DOING it.
Ok, you caught me. I know, technically, this is supposed to be a list of “don’ts” and “not to”s, but I felt that this was such a shoe in, that I would just give it to you as a bonus.
I have been feeling tremendously lost lately. Lost in the way that I find I have no drive, no strong need to be doing any particular thing in order to further myself. Some may call it an early-life crisis. I mean, I know what it is that ignites me, what I’m passionate about. Reading. Literature. Writing. Oh, how they have been my refuge. However, I’m not certain in which life direction these will take me. What do I do with these passions?
My mother, who is my best friend, honestly, the love of my life, thus far, was naturally the person I turned to in such a crisis. “Where am I going? How do I fill this hole?” Perhaps the most painful part of this whole experience were her responses. “You could become a stewardess. It’s not too late to go to medical school.” She twisted the knife. “You know, most people, most of us, are not creative people. You have a lot of creative friends, and I hate to say this honey, but maybe you’re just not creative.” A small piece of my spirit died. My mother, whom I always felt supported me in all that I do, essentially telling me that I probably don’t have what it takes to pursue my dreams, however murky and undefined they may be. I nodded, a deadpan expression on my face.
For some time afterward, I moped about, feeling all was hopeless, wishing I had never communicated these things to her. Then, with the help and encouragement of one my closest friends, I had a sudden realization. All love and respect to my mother, but who gives a flying turtle fuck what she says?! Yes, I had to come to the realization that the one person whom I love most in the world may not support all that I am, what it is I feel is my greatest means of expression and freedom. Well---that shit sucks. It’s just that simple. I’m not the first person whose loved ones didn’t believe in them and I won’t be the last. In a way, it sort of solidified that this is exactly what I need to be pursuing. It helped me to realize that, no matter who discredits or puts down what I do, that as long as I always know that I’ve put the best into my work and that I value it, that no one can take away what it is worth. In fact, I feel that’s the only way to know that what you create is truly your calling. The only validation you need is your own. I mean, I definitely hope for greatness. I hope to write the novel or passage that will morph some young mind, change someone’s world. But, I must write, knowing that, that may never come to pass. I may die having never completed one whole book, with no one but my loved ones having known my name. But at least I will have written. If YOU value it, then it’s worth it.