"Every time I think of happy I think of h-a-p-p-y. It's a funny word. I think of slaphappy. What's happy? There are feelings of well-being and comfort and peace, love, of feeling assured. I guess I was happy the day I got my Tome Mix cowboy spurs when I was six years old -- but on that same day my great-grandmother died, so..." - Al Pacino, Playboy Interview, December, 1996
I remember reading this when I was working at the Greyhound Bus Station, back in WisCONsin, a few years before I split to New York City. It really opened my eyes up, because I could relate to what he said 100%!
I remember being at my dad's funeral when I was 7-years-old, right? It just so happened that my new best friend was having his birthday party on the same day. After the service at the church, everyone gathered for refreshments or whatever in the church basement. And my Mom asked my sister-in-law if she would drive me to the birthday party. Her line of thinking was, "The funeral is over-with, so why does he have to hang around? He might as well go and have some fun with his new friends...." So, of course, I went to the party in my little suit & tie, and ate cake & ice cream, and I think I even talked about my dad a little bit with my friend's mom. You, know, it was alright. I think that, in hindsight, it was extremely cool of my Mom to have me go to that party.
Was I happy? Probably not, but...I probably laughed a lot. And....THERE's the rub!
But, essentially, what Pacino is saying, and I'm sort-of echoing, is that....for many of us, happiness seems to happen according to whatever the last thing is that happened. I stubbed my toe....so I'm pissed....but, then a friend said something hilarious....so now, I'm happy! That's usually how every day goes for me. I have some wild mood swings every now and then, but I've never really found any sort of sustainable happiness, I don't think. But, with that said, I've found EVEN LESS sustainable UNhappiness. And I think that's probably the whole point, at the end of the day. If you find yourself feeling more good than bad, when it all boils down, you're probably coming out ahead. I guess, it's all relative and subjective...and up to each of us as individuals, according our own experiences in life and our consequential perspectives, to suss out the difference.
It's funny, though. I know rich people who are miserable, and poor people who seem happy, and vice versa. I know married people who are happy, and some definitely not so much, and ditto for single people. I know happy drunks, and I know sober people who make me want to jump off a bridge. I know successful people who are thrilled as all HELL with their accomplishments, and those who don't appreciate anything...even themselves and their own hard work. I know people who have had some awful, traumatic shit happen in their past, who seem to have gained some kind of peace with it, and people who at least claim to have had smooth-sailing all the way who are totally lost. I've certainly seen content people who have struggled all their lives and and I've seen people with diamond-encrusted golden spoons for miles who are incorrigible at best. So, in summation, there's absolutely no blueprint!
(Now, granted, nobody REALLY knows what has happened in someone's past, no matter WHO they are or WHERE they came from...not to mention that nobody has a right to judge).
So, money doesn't buy happiness (but I'll take it). Marriage & relationships certainly don't, necessarily (but the right ones will certainly help, if you can find them). So what is it? Drugs and alcohol? Nope. Big parties, every night? Hell no. (Not that there's anything inherently wrong with any of those things, either).
Is it about having great people close to you? Now we might be onto something with that, for sure, at least in my case. No matter how many friends you have, what really matters is that the people close to you are real, and there for the right reasons...and for you be the same way to them. I've been extremely lucky in that regard, and hope my friends feel that they have been with me. Not everyone might agree that having people close to them contributes to their happiness, but...I just can't relate to that, and I'm someone who needs my alone time as much as the next guy. Love and understanding rank highly with me.
I also think that it's just as important to feel inspired, engaged, and moving forward with your hopes, dreams and aspirations, and to feel like you have some kind of place carved out in the world, and that you are moving forward....or at least that's important to me, for sure! And these things can evolve and change over time. Hell, part of growing is about finding new interests, new ambitions, and new talents....and new ways to apply your knowledge and experiences that you rack up all the time. I don't know if it's this way for everyone, but, again...for me, it's unquestionable.
When you sift through all of the bullshit, I think it's about self-awareness and how that coincides with the reality of this fucked-up world around us. And I think that the more time goes on, and the more rapidly the world changes, the more often it is demanded of us to adapt....and sometimes, that's a large pain in the ass. But, what are the options? Few, at best?
There's another conundrum that occurred to me the other day. I hope that we aren't faced with just two choices; to either wind up being jaded, cold, and callous.....or in a perpetual state of arrested adolescence?! Shit, if given that choice, clearly, I'd choose the latter, but I hope that perhaps we can come up with something better than that!
I don't have any answers.....just more and more questions. If anything, I'm just thinking aloud, trying to make sense of everything that brought me to where I'm sitting right this very moment.
But....you know, it's not bad....not bad at all.
Bundle up, everyone.....