It’s always seemed as if there’s some grand, unwritten rule about life and happiness that I’ve never quite grasped. It’s all perplexing to me. That’s is, the notion that all of it is somehow self balancing – like the yin and yang, like the dark and the light of the day.
You’ve likely known it, offered up to you at the most dire moments of your own life where somebody says something tantamount to, “it gets better in time”… Or conversely with people who imply that you should feel some pang of guilt for being happy and enjoying as much of your day as possible instead of being mired deeply and unhappily in some task.
I’ve known pain and loss in ways that many people of my generation are only now beginning to experience. I’m experiencing other bits of it that others have already traversed that I’m only gaining the strength to muster through. I’ve always subscribed to the notion, as a sort of solace, that pain opens your eyes to seeing happiness that you might have otherwise missed. As an artist I know the impact of simple contrast between light and dark, the pictures they can paint. While true, I think I just don’t believe in it anymore.
Life is different. It doesn’t need to balance. There isn’t a grand payback you owe in pain for elation. Happiness and joy, just as misery and pessimism, are merely the manner in which you choose to see any bit of life. You can, if you want, find happiness and beauty in almost any situation. I know this because I have. You can also find misery. I’ve done that too. Lately, I’m finding happiness, for no particular reason.
It’s funny, because inevitably, when you wander around grinning happily people ask what it is you’re happy about. I don’t have an answer, or even a really good reason. I wonder why I need one, so I just reply, “why not?” As much as I don’t have a good reason to be happy, neither do I have one not to be. I have so much percolating in my head that intrigues me. I have fingers and hands that can do things, toes and feet that can take me places. I have a whole world outside my doorstep and inside my refrigerator that fascinates the shit out of me. Life is as beautiful as it is macabre and puzzling and frustrating. It’s mostly a matter of what part you want to see in any of it.
Like knowledge, joy (and pessimism) is boundless and weightless. It doesn’t make you heavier or your pants fit tighter in places you don’t want if you have a bigger serving of it than you think you should. No matter how much of it you seek out or get of any one of them in your life, you’ll never run out of room for a little bit more. The more you find, the easier it is to see in anything and everywhere. I think it’s a bit like tuning your radio to a certain station on a dial. You can tune into whatever frequency you want, sing whatever songs you want for a lifetime, eventually you can even make up your own. Or you can just cry over the stupidest and most meaningless things… I think I’ve found laughter leaves a much better aftertaste than tears ever have…