Happiness

Maybe I’ve been watching too many bad TV shows lately but we all have our moments. It’s gotten me thinking about happiness defined. Is it a mentality? A state of being? Is it having a moment where you have everything you’ve ever imagined and more (think non material but more emotion like)? Is it the art of being content with what you have now? What is it?

We’re all on a journey so to speak. You know that thing called life. We all have rules and guidelines to follow – laws, societal norms, morals, and what not. We have this weight over our heads that tells us that we can be anything we want to be. And to an extent that’s true. But if in reality we’re all searching for happiness or contentedness if you so choose…why at one point in time do the things that made us happy cease to be enough? Why do the people and lifestyles we once were happy in cease to satisfy? Is it because we’ve grown or changed as a person? Is it that simple to pin point? Were those things ever what we really wanted in the first place? Or were they the things we think we wanted but not the things we needed?

Take it from someone who always gets into deep and heavy conversations with people. I get asked a lot, “if money wasn’t an issue what would you do with your life?” As much as you can fantasize and spew your deepest desires with someone and I know and have an exact answer to that question – reality rears its head. I get it, I’m a kid, I’m still young, I have my whole life ahead of me, add more cliches here. All of that may be true but when do I get to feel like I’m actually living my own life? In my own happiness?

Does life start with leaving and owning our own house, starting a family, having that serious relationship? If that’s the case what about those that don’t have those things?  Are they not living? I may have some growing up to do but don’t we all? Think about it, life as a kid has enjoyment, you have a purpose and it’s to be a kid and have fun. Life as an adult has a different purpose because of the added responsibility but shouldn’t have fun be a goal? Isn’t happiness what we’re truly pursuing? When is it still okay for an “adult” to experience fun and happiness with the joy and passion of a child? As the saying goes, ignorance is bliss. But purposeful ignorance is a pain in the ass. Experience makes us all jaded by something and happiness that once came so naturally and easily now has to be fought for and sought out.

I’m at a point in my life where I left graduate school because all I wanted to do was run screaming in the other direction, amongst other things. I am temporarily living at my parents while still paying for my other apartment. I turned 25 last week. I have no idea what I want in terms of a career or even where I want to live at this point. I’m still paying for my apartment yet I have zero desire to go back there. I left the life I’m temporarily back in about a year ago. I needed change and some distance to say the least. I took a risk and I don’t regret any minute of it. But now I’m at another crossroads. Do I stay or go back? Going back doesn’t exist as it did no more than the life I’m living now is exactly what I left. People change you can’t go back to what you had 100%. Sometimes that’s a good thing. When I left here I was totally unhappy. When I left the new place I was getting to totally unhappy. But right now for the first time in a few years I’m content with being where I am. I’m living in the present. There may be a world of opportunities out there but sometimes you need to reconsider your own back yard. I’ve been all over the world and to about half the states. Wandering is all well and good and I love to travel. Traveling makes me happier than anything else in this world. To wake up with the world of possibilities at your feet and no one or nothing to hold you back. If I could get on a plane in the next ten minutes and travel until I couldn’t anymore I’d see you in a few decades. But being an adult isn’t conducive to that life. Responsibilities and jobs and bills and what not make happiness harder to find.

The world is a fucked up and beautiful place. People have the ability to create amazing things as well as destroy them. We as adults destroy our own happiness. We do it by not being thankful or grateful or content with what we have. We grew up with the world saying you can be anything and then rejecting you when you try. Failure is part of life, as is rejection, but dreaming and planning and not living in the moment kills all good of today because tomorrow is ever at the forefront of your mind. Having a plan is all well and good but when do you stop planning? Life is never what you expect it to be. When do you start being happy and content with the things you have? Or if what you have is truly complete shit then find a way out. I’m not saying don’t dream or to give up, but to realize what you have before you throw it all away. We are the makers of our own happiness and sometimes we need to just let ourselves be happy.

It was a cold and dreary Monday

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If I died tomorrow what would you regret not telling me? Anything?
Why not know me, love me, enjoy each other’s company?
We could be anything – everything?
What is life if not something to enjoy?
Take a risk, a leap of faith
Those things you think and don’t say, could be just what the other person needs to hear
Whether they’re words of encouragement or harsh realities of the truth
Don’t waste your life with what if’s
Know honesty
Know you tried, failed & succeed
Know that you did or said what you could or had to do
Know you did everything you’ve ever wanted to
Truly love someone
Without regret, despite the consequences, regardless of the broken-hearted potential
Know you loved, lived & cherished all you could with someone, anyone
Life is going to kick you when you’re down
Love is going to end & start again
You learn a lesson from everyone that has a presence in your life or memories
Value people
Value yourself
Live what you love, love what you do
Happiness is a pursuit – that’s why life’s a journey
Happiness isn’t the result or the end
Happiness is the process
Death is the only true end
But who knows
Maybe death – is only the beginning

Soul searching

Life seems to break you down a lot. The world we live in isn’t the most pleasant or conducive for opportunities. I keep getting kicked but most of the time I feel like I’m not even standing again. I can say that I keep picking myself back up but whenever I attempt to stand something kicks me again.

I started 2013 looking for a way out of my bad situation. I found one. I was accepted into graduate school and I was excited for what was ahead in life for me. I moved to Massachusetts found a job in the summer and continued working part time through the school year. I started school and at the beginning it was everything I wanted, needed and hoped it would be. I felt like I was where I was supposed to be. Finally on the track I could most improve my life, situation and career wishes. As school progressed I struggled daily. It wasn’t because I was homesick or wanted my old life back. It was class. I was beating myself down because I was never doing as well as I hoped. I was spending hours teaching myself material that the teachers weren’t teaching me in class. I was spending hours doing the homework and putting in my time and effort. I was determined to get through this semester even though -why the fuck am I here – was a daily thought. Any time I tried to see the light or did see the light it seemed that five minutes later I was getting proverbially kicked in the ass again.

After a lot of hours spending time thinking should I stay here, should I go, why am I really doing this and what exactly am I getting out of it – I decided to leave school. I’ve had a few interviews and a bunch of phone calls from staffing agencies. I left Massachusetts for the holiday season and ended up pretty much stuck in back in Central NY. It’s been a pretty winding road the last few weeks. Forced to be back in the position of my life as it was 8 months prior. The people going on with their lives as they see fit and a place I felt so familiar with was now another place in time. I kept thinking back to the place I left when I left. I am still trying to assure myself that while things may have changed they couldn’t be completely backwards from what they were less than a year ago.

This lead me to doing some random internet surfing. I was at yet another crossroads. My life was again closing in around me and I felt helpless to stop it. I was looking for jobs and getting interviews but am currently stuck in NY. I’ve had to turn down interviews so that I can deal with my family emergency and eventually hope to move forward. I’ve been spiraling with all of the things that seem to be imploding but I took a chance to take things into my own hands as much as I could. I looked for jobs locally and back in MA for a few days. I continued the struggle but am trying to be much more hands on about it. I’ve tried to see the opportunity. Tried to see the good. Tried to make myself feel less helpless. And I found what I had lost. Everything around me then was never what I wanted for myself, but everything I did to get rid of it eventually turned into the same thing.

I keep saying to myself and to another person or two that I’ve done everything that I’ve ever wanted to do in my life so far. That I left here because I felt like I was drowning with no way out. Well I’m back at that point but now I have no desire to go back to MA. It’s true I miss what I had here. I’m not trying to make it the same thing but I was trying to force myself to be an adult because that’s what people keep telling me to do. I wasn’t a kid when I was a kid. I’ve always been responsible and independent and I’ve been a cynic for as far back as I can remember. I’ve always had this semi-jaded edge to myself. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I really let go.

I traveled. I soul searched. I read and learned all types of new things. I made friends I know I will have for years. I know that I know myself a little more and a little less each day. I know that if I feel trapped I will want to run screaming. I learned a lot about myself. But that’s the thing. The saying goes “people never change,” but that’s not true. People always change. People are constantly changing. We grow we learn, we adapt, we flourish, we flounder, we live, we survive, we go on – even if it is just barely. Life is hard. Your parents  never truly understand you and what you’re going through because they haven’t grown up in the world you did. They understand the life moments but contextually it is 100% different. Your parents think they know you but I’m a firm believer in saying that people only know you as much as you’re willing to let them and as much as you know yourself.

That’s the one thing I can honestly say that 2014 has given me. It has taught me a daily lesson about myself every step of the way. Last week was hell. This weekend was fun. I went out with a friend tonight and I was reminded why I had so much love for my best friend. Despite all the things we put each other through we always let ourselves have fun. We always did what we wanted in the moment. Yes you may say that’s irresponsible but it is what it is. Now that we sort of lost each other both of us are wandering. My life is caving in around me and I’m actually 10x more aware of what it is that I left behind. I realized that despite all my efforts to grow up and enter into the next part of my life – I don’t want to. I’m not ready yet. I’m not looking to get married and settle down. I’m not trying to stay in and watch television and go to bed at 10pm. I don’t want to be – for lack of a better word – boring. I want to have fun and get excited. Even if it’s for five seconds just because I’m seeing someone I want to spend time with. I want to live. I’m not ready for marriage, children and a life of being tied down. I was barely a kid when I was a kid, but I refuse to be an adult in those terms now.

I want a job and I want security. I’m not against working hard or making an effort. I’d like my own place and my own stuff. I’d like to be able to pay all my bills and do what I want. But what I thought I wanted 8 months ago isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. People keep asking me what I want. I have to keep telling them I don’t know. I know what I don’t want, but even that is subjective. They say that happiness is a state of mind not a destination. I can understand that but if you’re always in a constant struggle with change but are still open to growing as a person, when do you know if you’ve gotten there? When is being content good enough? Do you every truly know yourself and what you want? Can you? Or is it really true that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone? Or in my case -still there but not what it used to be.

Love: foolish, blind and crazy

So a few days back I wrote something about love. Well turns out I’m more of an idiot than I thought – or at least I feel that way. My heart breaks more and more every time I come back here. Every notion of home is gone. Call me crazy or stupid but I still care about my former-so-called-best-friend. Yes one word. I had an unfortunate weekend out with this person and let me tell you I’m even more of an idiot for caring than I ever thought I was before. I finally got there. The last straw that broke the camel’s back. And yet I don’t know how to deal with this. We weren’t a couple but were so attached. Now I don’t even know that person anymore. The person I spent so much time with is completely gone. We played a lot of games and put each other through a lot of shit because that’s how things played out but this weekend was unreal. I admit I’ve been going through a rough patch and have been a little reckless and irresponsible but the events this weekend were a complete game changer. We’re no longer friends – at all. The phrase, “now you’re just somebody that I used to know,” comes to mind. And it’s kind of breaking my heart.

When you care about someone as a friend or otherwise you tend to respect them right? Well apparently in my case love is not only blind, it’s stupid. I will admit this wasn’t typical love. This wasn’t an ordinary connection. If we picked up where we left off then things would be different. But what we had, who we were then, isn’t today. It’s not tomorrow. It’s not ever. It’s over. All of it is over.

The problem is I still have so much love for this person but more and more, over and over again I’m proven to be a fool. That my best friend is not who I thought they were, they’re not even close to being that person anymore. The person I knew no longer exists. The friend I had is no longer any friend of mine. And I’m heartbroken. I want so much to have one more day as we were and I know that won’t happen. So reckless and irresponsible but too connected and intimate with each other that being in a relationship didn’t matter. We were so much more than boyfriends and girlfriends could ever be.

We were lovers of the night. Adventurers for life. It was so hard to walk away because that was my life. That was the sustaining force behind who I was when I was home. My best friend. I have more love for them than I’ve ever had for myself. I’ve seen potential in them when I couldn’t even see my own. Every moment in my life, every culmination of anything, goes back to the first night I was asked to stay here and I said I couldn’t.  The life I had there scares me because it was easy. I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t ever alone. As much as I was trapped and going nowhere fast I was in love with the extras. The extra curriculars, the drinking, the night life, actually feeling like I was living. But in the midst of it all it was still semi controlled chaos. It was the relationship between the two of us that kept the balance because us together provided the excitement. They were my life force and we strove off each other’s energies and need for fun.

I’m not trying to make things what they used to be. I left that life behind. I started a new one but it feels like a half life. I left because I needed to but I’m afraid of what I lost. That’s the reason that I have to be so entirely 100% fucked up if I go drinking or go out. Yet I still want to be back there with my best friend. It’s a part of me. Us being that close is an era in my life that I won’t be able to forget.

It’s an intense love and attraction. It’s addiction in itself. It’s a can’t eat, can’t sleep, I need you want you, have to have you, hold you, be near you now feeling. It’s urgent and needy, it’s mesmerizing and sexual, it’s natural in the most sincere form. It’s 100% sin. It’s ridiculous. It’s everything it should be and everything it shouldn’t. It’s not truth, not rational, it’s need it when I need it, got to love you, we’ve become dependent on it -love. It’s gut wrenching and heartbreaking. It’s fucked up and terrible for you. It’s knowing you can be yourself in front of someone but you can’t let them see your entirety because you already know you want them too much. That if you gave even a little bit more of yourself to this person they’d have 100% potential to ruin you.

It’s a connected life force and a driving motive. It’s the lack of being able to be vulnerable with that person because it’s so much more than you thought it could ever be. It’s to the point that you don’t know how to let go because you can’t physically and mentally detach this person from your soul. They are part of you. They are part of you in a rare form that most people could never even dream of reaching. Knowing someone means so much to you and yet feeling like you’re nothing to them. It’s knowing that no one will ever truly understand because people can’t even imagine being that much or that close to anyone. It’s the reason I owe it to them to be around and the very same reason I can’t.

It’s knowing if you let them know you anymore than they already do then you’re ruined. Ruined like a building from the ancient world. A building that is still left standing in it’s glory and reverent power. Something otherworldly. Something divine that no one can truly explain. And why it’s still standing after everything that is green and gold in this world is gone is unknown. It’s uneducated passion. It’s sin and goodness. It’s temptation that’s been given into but it’s so much more. It’s art within itself. It doesn’t have a word or a form. It’s chemical. It’s reaction. It’s a force. It’s you and me together. It’s life changing. It’s too hard for both of us. It’s knowing I’ve always wanted you and yet I’ve never been good enough to be the one.

Love and support is all well and good but that’s not what I want. I want someone to walk through life with hand in hand. Someone to get crazy fucked up with that won’t judge me for it. Someone to share stories and make stories with. I don’t want simple small talk, I want intellectual stimulation. I want passion. I want someone to exist in my world and me in theirs. I want a shooting star amongst galaxies and I want to grab this world by the balls and hit it out of the park. I need fun and adventure despite the cost of everything else. I need someone to need me. I need someone to get to know me and understand. I need someone to be open and honest with me at all times. I need the hard conversations and the closeness that no one else sees or realizes. I need a soul mate. I need to let my own wall down and let someone truly know me and take me for what it is. I want truth. Love in its purest form. Chemical reciprocated love.

Call me crazy and eh we all are sometimes but shit – I now want nothing to do with this person after the events of this past weekend but my mind is reeling in everything we had. The person I was presented with is so far from the person I knew. The person I had so much love for no longer exists. That to me is heartbreaking in itself. It’s a loss of a best friend again because they’ve now proven that life goes on and now you’re nothing. I’m not very good at forgetting but I don’t want to cast this out. I just want to have the feeling that eventually this isn’t going to be so gut wrenching to me. Yet despite it all I don’t regret anything we shared. I don’t regret anything at all that was between us. I just need this not to hurt me anymore and I don’t know how to make it stop. Does it ever really cease to be a memory that isn’t life changing? How can it be?

Thoughts on Freedom and the Real World

So, I watched the Avengers the other day and there was a specific part in the movie that struck me. It’s a scene between Loki and Thor in which Loki states:

“Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity, that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power, for identity…”

It got me thinking about freedom in a way I hadn’t previously. In a way this statement is true. I had this conversation with a friend the other day that society tends to function better when people have roles. That doesn’t make anyone or everyone happy, but it gives them a path and a security knowing where their life is going. When you tell someone that they can do anything fear sets in. Freedom then becomes the enemy. Think about it. We all have our own goals and achievements in life and I would never wish to take anything from anyone so please do not misread this as an attempt at taking liberties, but think about it. We grow up with the notion that we can be anything we want. That if we try hard enough we can do it or make it happen. Well the truth is we can’t. You might be the best basketball player but if you’re 5’5 you’re never going to make it professionally. You can’t teach 6’3. If you want to be a doctor, you have to not only get through the immense amount of school work but you have to find a way to pay for it. You have to get your foot in the door somewhere and gain experience. Just having a college degree doesn’t get you into medical school. A college degree in today’s world in general gets you a lot of debt and not very much to show for it, but you have to have one. -Well at least one. We have so much freedom and so many options that everything is that much harder to achieve. Access to everything is widespread. You’re no longer just competing with locals or at a statewide level. Things are now state to state, country to country and company to the world.

Trying to be the best or get noticed in today’s world is so much harder than it “seemed to be” in decades past. And yet every other person on television is some reality star that came out of the woodwork. But expanding on that – we don’t have those actors that just stand out, the ones that truly “have it.” The people like Gene Kelly or Judy Garland. Frank Sinatra, Elvis, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The same can be said for leaders. Whether that leader is good or bad. You look to the leaders of the past and they made a difference. The United States needs another FDR. But no one is “up to the challenge” and if they were the people in the House and Senate wouldn’t elect that person. I keep saying things like “this” because I’m speaking from opinion and not fact.

I’m in my 20’s I don’t know the full truth of what happened in 1930 to become a star in Hollywood. Or in 1950 to become a known writer or author. Or what it took to be elected as an official. But today anyone can be any of those things. The things that used to be held at a higher regard because not everyone could do them are now widespread, everyday things. Any idiot with a camera can take a picture, but not everyone is a great photographer. Anyone with a computer or cell phone can write something for the world to see. Any idiot with a camera can take a video and put it on YouTube. Social media and the internet make the world a smaller place. They make getting noticed harder and harder. The corners of the world as our parents knew it are no longer obstacles. Simply doing what you love as your goal or purpose in life isn’t really attainable. We grow up with the world around us telling us that we have the freedom to be anything we want to be – yet they make it damned near impossible to do just that.

What exactly is freedom? Is it the fact that I can even be sitting here right now and reaching however many people around the world at the click of a button? Is that freedom? Is it that I have crippling student loan debt that according to my dad “is my own fault” because I didn’t choose a cheaper school? Was the freedom to choose a school truly freedom? I mean you have to get accepted right? Nothing is a guarantee in this world or in this society. I’m not looking for a hand out, but merely a chance at success. When does freedom hinder success?

I’m a hard working individual. I was a dual major in college graduated a semester early with honors and two bachelor degrees, worked and was a part of a school team. I don’t expect anything from anyone, but a chance to prove I can do what is asked of me at a job or of me in general. I’ve grown up with all the freedom I can imagine, yet I get told I’m lazy and entitled. Their free to their opinion and I’ll give them that. But let me ask this again… When does freedom hinder success? When you’re told you can be anything and then thrown into the real world and you’re knocked on your ass you’re clearly free but at what cost? High school teaches you absolutely nothing about life. College teaches you some things, but still falls short of potential life lessons you’d need to really succeed. I’ve been an independent person most of my life and I admit there are somethings in life you just have to learn for yourself because they can’t be taught –but come on. I was born and raised in NY state. I’ve never really been denied anything in my life in terms of anything essential. I don’t know true hardship and believe me I’m very thankful for that. I’ve been to about 8 different countries and have (for lack of a better way to explain this) loved every minute spent in each place. I have friends from all over the world. I hear and share stories and I am truly grateful to share in their story and am in awe of some of the things that people have endured for freedom. But at a certain point I can’t sit here and think that if someone told us what we were supposed to do with our lives that we’d ignore them.

Telling someone you can do anything hinders success. They then have to figure out what it is they want and then figure out how to get it. Some people are truly gifted and find that what they’re really good at is what they like to do. Those people are the outliers. As for the rest of us we have to work for it. Yes we have the freedom to change our minds but always at a cost of some sort. Nothing in life is ever what you expect it to be. In a world that everyone is told they can be anything they want and it is assumed in this country that we have the right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness along with countless other freedoms what is it’s true cost? Does it come at the cost of others or was that the choice they made? Our lives become the consequences of the choices we make. If we have the freedom to choose or attempt to choose anything we want what does it cost others? Does it have a cost at all? And what can we do about it? At a certain point in life we all wish we had the answers and clearly there are no right answers to my life or right answers to yours. Clearly you have to take the good with the bad and with success there is always failure, but when does freedom become a burden to society and when is it a chance at success?