I’ve always dreamed of happiness as many others have; it is to wake up one day and find myself in a magical world.
Maybe it would happen on my eighteenth birthday when I’d become an adult and my newfound powers would begin to grow or perhaps I’d be caught in a whirlwind adventure across worlds.
I was going to find magic and have real adventures and be someone that mattered.
I was going to escape reality.
It’s what it is, isn’t it? A desire to escape what we consider dull and what we consider dull typically is our own life. Perhaps it’s a desire to be different, to see something new, to be mystified and staying so rather than being given an answer or being able to Google it.
To Google is now a very real act. It is not to find an answer or solve a mystery. It is to browse a repertoire with any question and finding a guaranteed answer. Yes, there are still very real mysteries in our scientific universe but for concerns to the common man, there are typical answers. And that’s what kills us.
We wanted to escape to a world of wonder but find ourselves in a world where there is little wonder left. We seek higher and more abstracts meanings like the joy of an untouched forest after the rain, the beauty of small villages waking up and finding happiness in a world devoid of the urbanized chaos you’re accustomed to, or perhaps it’s the endless expanse of grass that rolls like a wave in the breeze.
We see these things but go back to our typical lives. We earn our keep by working a customary job, even a heart surgeon is something normal and expected, and then pay our bills whether they’re small or substantial, and we have our homes to keep regardless if modest or lavish.
And we tell ourselves: “One day, I’ll live in the world I want to live in. I’ll carve out my own slice of life just the way I like it”. We select the friends we have, the lovers we take, the decor and style we enjoy, the activities we wish to partake and then we begin to think that there has to be more.
We always need more to make our world perfect, we need something different to spice things up, we need more self-fulfillment.
And honestly, we just want to be happy and we clearly are not.
Even now, many are taking control of their mundane lives and making it better.
They tell themselves: “I’ll finally have enough money to pay off my debts and never worry about spending a dime” or “It’s so good to have someone love me back and not being lonely anymore”. These are all wonderful things but these very same hopeful hopefuls will one day wake up and say: “I’m still not happy.”
If you have everything you wanted or dreamed, surely that must make you happy. Whether you were given it or you’ve earned it: you made it! Yet you feel disconnected from it all as you roll out of bed, swing out of your air-conditioned room, or close your front door after a long night out.
You were entertained momentarily in relishing the bright lights, the intoxicating odours, savouring the sweetness on your lips, and catching the infectious laughter. Once all it is gone and you are by yourself, you realize you’ve lived for those moments and now they’re gone. You might as well be dead.
Not in the morbid suicidal way, of course, but more in the sense where you realize how you wish that time never ended because the time coming is one you realize makes you unhappy.
You go back to your routines, working on improving yourself, doing activities you enjoy, finding meaning in your work and once again you realize that those things are just ways to try to obtain other things that ought to make you happy.
Work will give you money to spend, yoga will make your body hurt less, a weekend off a respite to relax and cram in as much fun as you can, and good food will make you fat and comfortable.
You’re always searching for a new thing to keep pushing toward this happy ideal world you have in your head.
You have all these things that ought to make you happy because you wanted them. And they do make you happy yet you feel unhappy and ultimately you realize for the last time that you are unhappy because you are unhappy.
You may surround yourself with the most joyous of things but if you are unhappy inside then the external happiness in your life won’t be able to find its way internally.
True happiness comes from within and not from the things you can touch and see. Those joyous things would only truly make you happy if you could connect with them for they need be a result and consequence of your own personal happiness and not that of a happiness you were given or you bought or you found.
Happiness is something to be grown and nurtured even if it may seem small, fragile, and too insignificant to matter.
The real question is how do we ever begin to plant the seeds of happiness within ourselves. If it were easy, surely everyone would be happy and we would never have been unhappy ourselves in the first place.
And you’re not about to read any answer in these next paragraphs. You can Google it. I dare you even but you won’t find an answer.
Take some anti-depressants, go see a psychologist, go to a retreat and “find yourself” but it will never come unlike how it just did to tie this entire rambling piece together.
It’s not the magical world of dragons for me. It takes that form when I dream but when I introspect as hard as I can I begin to see what it truly is: Freedom. I give it a capital because I do not mean freedom in the dictionary sense but in its more abstract and pure form.
I could become the fireball-slinging wizard I dreamed of since I was a child and I’d be swept up with the excitement that came with it. But I would wake up, roll out of my bed, put on my pointy hat and mutter my magical phrases to turn the lights on, and I’d realize I’m unhappy.
Magic would be real. I could do anything. But still I would be chained down by responsibility, a desire and need to adhere to society and its expectations, to do and conform to ideals and morals I may not necessarily hold as true, and no matter how powerful or important I’d be I would always just be myself: an unhappy person wanting to be left alone and desperately searching for meaning.
It is not an existential crisis of Who am I or Why am I here but an obsessive desire to become who I see myself as.
I do not see myself as a nine to five worker nor as a rockstar. I do not see myself as a happy father or a loving husband. I do not see myself as an important intellectual figure or a simple common man.
I see myself as Freedom and until I find a way for Freedom to grow in me I will be unhappy no matter how many steps I take coming closer or further from it. I do not know how to become more like it. It is elusive and abstract; an ideal and morphing dream made of sensations and fleeting images.
I will know when I become Freedom.
But for now, I’m telling everyone I am unhappy and will remain so perhaps until tomorrow or until I am a hundred and out of time to enjoy happiness.
If I begin to run, if I begin to cry, if my honesty pours out, or I lash out at myself or the world, know it is all in an attempt to change myself into Freedom or come close to it.
I am unhappy because I want to be happy.