Dammit, Be Happy!
Now, I’d like you all to understand something.
I’m far from a wise man.
In fact, a wise man once clearly stated I would never be a wise man, which is precisely how I know a wise man I am not.
You see, all those songs that talk about the fool? That’s me. Every one of them.
BUT, sometimes, riding dangerously long caffeine highs, I like to think I have some half decent insights into this whole ‘life’ thing.
So, with all that being said, I’d like to ride this concerningly prolonged wave of euphoria and share one of my astute thoughts with you today. Please bear with me through the occasional spouts of over-enthused and knowingly unwelcome excitement, because that’s just the caffeine poking holes in my brain.
YES MORE COFFEE, WOOHOO!
I CAN’T FEEL MY ARMS!
Ok, let’s dive in.
It’s not revolutionary, but I’ve come to find that you probably shouldn't lay a future with bricks you despise. Especially if those bricks are made of cocaine.
Looking at you Alfred. Pull yourself together big guy.
But what I mean is, why earnestly pursue something that doesn't make you happy? I bring this up now because in the past week I’ve come across enough people to really open my eyes to it. And that took some doing because I was NOT used to sunlight. God, it was awful.
But I saw enough people sweating blood and crying sweat (…right?) over work deadlines and school choices, or a combination of the two, that I couldn't help but wonder how they started down a path so hated, or why they were still on it.
Undoubtedly, you need to be realistic, and sometimes that may look like choosing a path that’s not a 100% fit, but it doesn't mean you need to go into hospitality if you generally and furiously despise people. Because believe me, it’s a recipe for murder— I mean disaster.
This week I’ve come across a few fellow ‘humans’ in law school that just absolutely and positively hate the law. So why go to law school you ask? Valid question. One that crossed my mind as well. One I dared to ask aloud. A few answered, “because it will pay well,” and others, “because you have to do something.”
Well, using this for its broad application, and addressing that first answer first: perhaps, one day, it will pay well. But surely if it’s money you’re after, there are other ways doing something you don't constantly wake up to hating?
And as for the second part, while I suppose it’s technically true, you could, theoretically, be just like me and float from day to night in a haze of bewilderment and confusion!
No, truth be told I think the answer to that second half speaks for itself and needs not to be voiced. It seems like it should be common sense that you shouldn't pursue a career in a field you don't like, or take a job somewhere you don't want to (if you don't have to), but I’m surprised to find just how easy it is to fall into this illusion of “only for a little while” or “just so I have a backup plan.” As pointed out by one Admiral Ackbar, it’s a trap one can’t so easily escape. And I get that. And I also get sometimes circumstances cannot always be fought. You should absolutely have a backup plan, but perhaps it should also be one you have some interest in.
You like numbers? You should… do whatever it is that numbers are used for.
And the fact is, there’ll be times you’ll have to do something you’d rather not, I know that’s a reality of having a heartbeat too. But even that doesn't mean you have to abandon forever what it is you do find interesting, what it is that does make you happy. Sometimes there’s so much pressure to set a course we don't put half as much thought into setting our compasses as we should.
Hurray for metaphors!
For some, I totally understand that choice can be a lot harder than for others, but I think this is addressed to the folks I keep coming across that are really quite unhappy with the way they work or study.
For me it’s writing that makes me happy. That’s why I do this, even though it doesn't always—*ahem*—pay the bills.
Which is why I realize just how important it is to build something realistic, but also that it’s dangerous to forget about your interests and happiness altogether.
And it may be that you love painting, teaching, coding, tourism, cow-tipping, whatever.
You do you, folks.
And that’s where for some this ties back to the creative. Being creative makes many people happy, some (dare I say most?) to the point where they’d prefer it as a career.
It’s no secret that being creative may not pay well.
“What is that daddy?”
“Oh son, it’s just the starving artist. Now don't get too close.”
But it doesn't mean you’ve got to totally abandon being creative, or whatever your interests look like. Work towards something realistic, but find ways to follow what excites you.
What I’m saying is: be smart, but also don't be dumb.
Screw that other guy, I sound pretty wise don't I?
Obviously one’s gotta work to pay the bills, keep the children on the table (I don't know how it works to be honest) but it’s this setting about on a future of something you despise that just absolutely blows my mind. The amount of people getting degrees in something they abhor is quite frankly staggering.
Being realistic doesn't have to look like following a path straight through Mirkwood (shout out to the nerds here) because it can simply look like keeping options open.
And look, I’m not saying drop it all and leave the children to recreate Lord Of The Flies so you can surf in the Antilles all day, I’m saying why begin and chase a future you have no interest in?
You love math, go into accounting or something numbery. Why the hell are you studying law?
But “it just happened” is actually a pretty understandable response, because life literally makes no sense, trust me I’ve done the math on this.
40 + 2 is…
But then 12 - 2 means that…
Screw it, nothing makes sense.
But “it just happened” doesn't have to stay like that.
“Can I get a hell yeah?!”
“No? K, sorry.”
Change like that can be hard sometimes, totally, but most of the time, I think it’s possible. All situations are different, we’re all unique butterflies or whatever, and you may need to do something not so interesting to get to a place where you can do those things that do in fact interest you (depending on what those are), but don't actively plan a future you just can’t stomach. Seeing people in school following degrees they hate more than life (all my friends are pessimists you see) just makes me ask why? Why do this to yourself?
Most of the time the answer is about future financial stability.
And yeah, we need money. No doubt about it. But how useful is the distant promise of cash when self-resentment starts melting your insides.
And that’s how it works folks, cold hard science. Trust me. I’m wise.
And in this rare moment of clarity for me, I see my thesis here has general applicability too. It applies not just to writing and those in creative fields, but all of them.
ALL THE FEILDS WOOHOOO!
Yes Alfred, including cocaine.
Ultimately this comes from my newfound wonder at why bother putting yourself through something, to build a future you want no part of? Being a part of the long term is good, but only if that longterm is something you have interest in spending a lot of time with.
Because, like self loathing, you will be spending much time with it.
SELF BURN, WOOOOHOOOO!
Anyway, I say this all to my readers who may not even fully understand they’re not happy with what they’re doing. I say this because maybe this will have just a tiny hand in helping them to see they don't have to lock themselves into a career path, or life path, that’s so far away from what they want, they stare longingly out of windows dreaming of it, drinking way too much scotch.
Oh god, I’m talking about me.
So I suppose that turned into a far more somber post than I had intended, but hey, I can’t control my actions. The caffeine does that for me.
So I shan't apologize! Despite my increasing inability to feel my limbs, I believe I may have even made a few good points.
I feel like this rant was intended to help some realize that just maybe there’s a balance between what’s realistic and what makes you happy.
But who knows?
Certainly not I, for I am but an unwise writer.
Thanks for reading folks.