When I was younger, I had this theory, which I liked to repeat to my dad because his nodding along to it made me feel wise and deeply insightful, that you couldn’t actually pursue being happy. That was a fool’s game. You just had to pursue other interesting shit and enjoy happiness in the brief flashes in comes into your life. (Boy, doesn’t that make you want to move to the Midwest?)
But you know, watching my parents, I’ve figured out that a lot of the time, happiness functions like an important safety check on your life. If you’re not happy, something might be wrong. I guess the other thing, too, is that I have watched my parents live their lives of pursuing other things and I literally don’t understand it. I mean, I don’t need long explanations or suppositions about why they are how they are. I mean, at the very bottom of it, when they make a play, I don’t understand if that play is supposed to move the ball forward or if they’re throwing the game and intentionally moving the ball backwards or if–and maybe this is it–they think that it is their duty to not let the ball move at all.
But I don’t understand why you’d want to play that way. See what I’m saying? Not only don’t I understand why they make the plays they do. I don’t understand why they continue to subscribe to that paradigm of game play.
You can’t get out of the game until you die. I get that. But you can try to make the game as enjoyable as your field position and talents would allow.
So, I know it’s been boring around here, but the thing is that I had this idea that I wasn’t a happy person. And, in general, I don’t think that I am. Not naturally. I spend a lot of time fretting, I mean, a lot of time. Like it’s my job. Like if only I can understand every strand of every detail of every life surrounding me, if only I can run my hands over them enough times, I can understand them and through understanding them, control them or at least mitigate their harm to me.
When I do things that are hard for me, rather than enjoying the challenge, I feel like I suck and that I have no talent and that I will never be recognized for the work I want to be recognized for. I spend a lot of time worrying over the state of politics and feeling like I’m not doing enough to try to move us in a less sucky direction. I resent that I don’t have shit I wish I had.
And for what?
Maybe this is just the fall-out from my decision to stop reading the comments at Pith, but that’s been really nice. I mean, it feels good to not give a shit about what petty bullshit people are going to nitpick about. I miss reading the good comments, but we have good comments here.
And maybe it’s also fall-out from the Masons story, where I’m sure there were people who thought it sucked, but you know what? I didn’t hear from them. Instead, I heard from a bunch of people who were deeply moved that someone was interested in something they cared about.
So, I guess this is the long way of acknowledging that it’s been kind of boring around here, or at least lacking somewhat in existential dread, but I’m trying to see what it would be like, in my day to day life, to cultivate happiness.
And it’s been nice. I don’t know how long it can last because, as I said, I’m not a naturally happy person. But you know, I’m not a naturally lucky person, either, and I’ve managed to cultivate a long string of incredibly good luck. So, you know, why not?
I’m growing that strange thing on the right there in my garden, along with some volunteer beans.
And they’ve rehabbed the John Wesley Work house and I intend to go see it.