Over the course of this very lazy weekend, I somehow ended up watching videos of One Direction concerts. How did I come upon these videos? Nobody truly knows. That's what happens when you get sucked into the vortex that is the world wide web. One minute; you're doing research for your scientific paper on the differences between plant and animal cells, and, next thing you know, you're clicking on clips of cats sneezing and babies farting.
Anyway, apparently during their concerts, Harry Styles was prone to giving speeches of sorts about love and how wonderful their fans are. The words on the mug in the picture above is a quote that he would very commonly state. Now, I'm not about to roast Harry Styles. I actually like him. He seems like a decent human being. However, I am about to roast this quote.
Happiness is very subjective. It changes depending on where we are in life and what our current situation is. If a man is doing whatever would make him happiest in the world but is losing his wife and children in the process, what does that mean? Human beings have continuously proven themselves to be very selfish. There are the good-hearted ones who will put other before themselves but, should the time arise, they will choose their own survival first. This statement only throws gasoline on an already acre-wide forest fire.
There are many things in life that cannot be explained fully. The most famous one is love. What is love? We claim that we know. We give it trending hashtags all the time. Yet, it is something that nobody has ever been able to put a set definition to. Is it a feeling? Is it an emotion? Then there's the physical side to it. Where in the world does that come from? Why would a person fall in love with one person and not the other?
We love our friends; yet those people don't always turn into romantic relationships. How does that work? We say that love can save a person but couldn’t it also destroy a person? All-in-all, love doesn’t really make much sense. We all have our own definitions of what it is. Much like we all have our own definitions of happiness. What is happiness, exactly? Where does it come from? What does it mean?
The truth is that we all have different ideas as to what happiness is. Some people believe that it’s a tangible, literal thing that you can do - a place you can go, an artifact you can own, a career you can have...etc. Some believe that happiness lives within a person, that it is something that can only be found by that person alone, with no help. Some people believe that happiness is a distorted view of the world.
Everyone has their own definition of happiness; we’ve established that. Now, wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone had the same idea of what would make them the happiest in the world? That’s one of the biggest problems with this statement. One person's heaven could be another person's hell, and because we’re human and are naturally selfish, we will always reach for the item that works best for us as individuals. You can’t have everyone doing what makes them happy all at the same time. That would be utter chaos!
As the great philosopher, Mick Jagger, once said, “You can’t always get what you want.” And really, you can’t. Life is full of so many twists and turns that who’s to say what makes me happy now will still make me happy in the next 20 years? This is where compromise comes in. Let’s face it, life is full of compromise and internal negotiation.
“This college is close to home but doesn’t have have a football team…Yet this college has a football team but is halfway across the country…” So, which one do you pick? What part do you let go of? Life is a continuous process of letting go. We let go of childhood; we let go of loved ones; we let go of what may have provided joy for a brief moment 10 years ago for something better.
I took a Musical Theater class in high school. It was a performance class in which the high school's theater director would personally critique us on our solo performances. Yes, this class required us to get up in front of a group of teenagers and sing our pretty little hearts out, only to possibly be told that everything we did was horrible. The theater director said something in that class, “It’s not about knowing where you’re going. It’s about being confident with where you are.”
Granted, he was talking about stage movement…but that quote has never left me. It's not about knowing what you’re going to be doing in the next few years; it’s not about the plans or the dreams or the aspirations. Now, those are all important, of course and round you out as a person but what do we do if those plans don’t become reality, if those dreams don’t come true, and those aspirations are knocked down? Could it be that life is about finding happiness every day, in the smallest of ways instead of constantly going out and looking everywhere for it? You probably won’t find it. If there is anything that life has taught me in my 21 years on earth, it is that happiness often grasps you when you’re least expecting it. A no-good, terrible, very bad day could suddenly turn into something absolutely beautiful.
Nowhere has it ever stated that you are going to be happy 24/7/365 for as long as you are alive, which is what seems to be what people are trying to achieve these days. That is an unrealistic way of thinking. Life is not always going to be a gloriously, sunny day with greenery and flowers, where you prance around the field like a baby gazelle. Sure, it has those moments. I’m not saying that it doesn’t but life hurts sometimes. It stings. It burns. It cuts. It leaves scars.
Sometimes it even has you picking up a shovel and digging yourself into a hole because it couldn’t get any better, could it? Life sucks sometimes. Life itself will suck the life right out of you sometimes. It’s normal to cry. It’s normal to grieve. It’s normal to feel like the world is crashing down on you from time to time. It’s inevitable. That doesn’t mean that the sun doesn’t rise after a night without stars. That doesn’t mean that flowers don’t grow after a winter storm. If you spend your entire life searching for something when you’re not even entirely sure what you’re looking for…you’re going to miss it.
You’re going to miss the small things. The everyday things that could have made you the happiest human being of the face of the earth. I’m not saying not to do anything fun, enjoyable, or joyful. What is life without a little stupidity and laughter? All I’m saying is that life is a process of taking moments as they come; the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don’t waste away your life waiting for something that might never happen and don’t always try to force it. Take baby steps. Grow and learn. Remember, that’s not just something meant for children to do.