Today I realized something. Society tends to set the pursuit of happiness as one of the top individual goals. But there’s not really a consensus on what happiness is, just it is something that we are all supposed to be chasing and something that we should all aspire to. It’s just like the slippery slope of wealth; no matter how much we have, we are supposed to always want just a little bit more…
We’re always looking ahead. What we’re after is right here, right now. It’s the little moments. For example, I have been working really hard recently. I went out and had a nice dinner, talked with (I would like to say flirted with, but I’m not kidding myself) a very cute and too-young-for-me (no that’s not it, I am too-old-for-her) bartender at my favorite seafood joint. I broke the one drink rule, but was riding by bike so no worries on driving, and when I got home it was about to storm. So I opened the doors and windows downstairs, let the breeze and the smell of fresh rain smell run through the house, stretched out on the futon with Amy-Leigh, put on a random mix of all the last 5 or 6 Death Cab for Cutie albums (can’t wait to see them at Red Rocks 14 days from today, hells yea!), and just enjoyed being in the moment for a while.
Am I “happy” in this moment? I don’t know. I’m not dancing around like I’m in a commercial for blue jeans or Dr. Pepper or anything. But I have a comfortable, content, neutral feeling. Am I half empty or half full? In the moment, I don’t care. (By the way, the glass thing is stupid as hell. If you are in the process of filling the glass, then it is half full; if you are in the process of emptying the glass, it is half empty; and if you just stumble along it then why would you give a shit?) Maybe that is the key with folks like me – “happy” is too simple to be a real goal. Complex people shouldn’t shoot for happy, at least in the way society seems to conceive of happy. To do so would almost be a letdown of our own personalities, a concession to the “They”. No, us complex types need to completely redefine happiness in terms of our own little inner worlds. Tonight, mine happens to be listening to moody complex music here in the dark while listening to the rain and thunder with my little best doggie friend snoring next to me. Am I happy at the moment? I have no freakin’ idea. Would I want to be anywhere else at moment? No, not really. Well, perhaps in the arms of the bartender, but she’s still at work, so yes, I’d rather be here. So, if wouldn’t change anything, then…I’m good, right? No point in spending this moment yearning for some undefined happiness that seems to exist only in the future.
I’m starting to think that us moody types perhaps have it better. After all, everything that humans discern is, in some sense, dual. Light doesn’t make sense without dark. We can’t fully appreciate life until we fully face death. We can’t fully appreciate feeling joyful unless we’ve been fully depressed. I think complex people experience a broader range of emotions than “normal” people, both those emotions that we label “good” and ones that we label “bad”, even though there really is no absolute good and bad, they are just labels, just language. We wouldn’t even consider ourselves moody if there weren’t unmoody people around. But neither is good nor bad, better nor worse. They is what they are.
There is nothing necessarily wrong with feeling everything, unless maybe it gets so extreme that we can no longer function and do the basic stuff we need to do. There seems to be no particular point to life, and that’s fine. But we complex folk can say, if the point of life to to feel, to truly feel, every thing that a being can possibly feel, than this is something we absolutely excel at. Our lows are lower, and our highs are higher. We’ve got the best of both worlds. We are good at feeling. What’s wrong with that? What could be a better goal in life than living life fully, feeling life fully, in all of it’s quirks, all of it’s ups and downs. Psychologists talk of repressing as not being a good thing…yet society acts like we should repress or ignore everything other than roses blowing out of our assholes…like feeling anything other than happiness is not worthwhile. Well, I say fuck happiness!
Let’s just be be ourselves…let’s just be humans..let’s just be beings…let’s just be!
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I’m suddenly reminded of an interesting and quirky movie I like called Committed, which makes a very interesting play on that word, with the main character going from being incredibly committed to her marriage to being committed to a mental institution. At one point she says to a friend, “I understand now…I’m just too sick to live out there in the real world with everyone else”. Her friend shrugs and says, “Perhaps you are not sick enough”.
Amen! This one goes out to all beings that are going through a hard time tonight. Rollers coasters can often be quite scary when you’re on them, but you get a big smile when it’s over. And then you can’t wait to ride again.