I think most people would say they don’t believe in happily ever after, that they don’t aspire to it, and yet it’s how people generally operate when they’re safe.
They just stay.
It’s why people seem blind to change for so long in things like relationships and work. They stopped thinking once they felt secure. They take things for granted. There’s an inherent level of death denial in the common psyche, of even age denial.
I, however, am acutely aware that everything ends. And I’m always looking for signs that it’s time to move on because I’ve been afraid for my entire life of throwing good time after bad, of staying in a relationship I know is ending when I could be using that time meeting someone new or growing on my own, of staying at a job I no longer enjoy because I hate looking for a job. Life is going to feel short someday and I’m scared most of regretting inaction.
Which I consider a positive about myself. When something’s over it’s over, I don’t hang on and I don’t backslide. I get out of bad situations easily. That makes me happy.
A problem I have though is I’m also uncomfortable in good situations.
There’s a conservation with Jay from ten years that’s evidently so pivotal I’m still dissecting it even after I included it in a song.
We were sitting in a bar (Our beloved Wolfman’s may it be at peace in the unending glory of dive bar Valhalla), two guys in our twenties drinking in the afternoon surrounded by guys creeping in on 60. We were happy, they were sad, we were lively, they were quiet, we were fresh, they hadn’t bought new clothes in our actual lifetime.
Out for a smoke Jay asked rhetorically how they turn out like that. As if we were looking through the glass of an exhibit. I was incredulous and said we are that.
I know that farce and folly are about character context. Take someone who’s behaviour is congruent in one context and put them in another. A successful drill Sargent in charge of young children?! Bam, cheap effective comedy. Take someone from the youth culture of the 70s and put them around actual youths in the 90s. Cheap comedy and it’s cheap comedy at their expense. Especially if they’re treating their balding scalp like it’s the lush hair they had 10 years ago. Context changes even when character hasn’t. That’s why I’m scared and sad even during joyful events, it’s all fleeting, always marching toward ending, everything changing around you conspiring to make you a fool.
That’s why I can be as sad at 22 laughing in a bar as we think a 56 year old drinking silently should be.
If you’re not choosing to change you’re choosing to stay the same too long.
On the other hand it’s exhausting to constantly beat myself for never making something of myself as if any day I didn’t move the chains of world domination was a sure fire sign nothing good would ever happen.
So right now I’m thinking about how to balance it out. It’s true that the things life throws at you are amoral and random and that luck is when skill meets opportunity. There is something to be said for patience, more patience than declaring yourself a loser at 22 certainly.
I think it’s okay to stay where you are as long as you’re focused on growing internally and I think it’s okay to keep moving and let growth happen to you, and maybe it’s impossible to feel I’m doing the right thing even if I am.
The puzzle of happiness is; do you stay and try to build it or go searching and try to find it? If you stay, even working your damnedest, you could build something so sub par and yet stable that you miss your shot, and if you search you could just end up running forever and not putting the time into things that would have been truly rewarding.
And people who say it’s never too late are delusional idiots.
I’ll fallow that up in a post of it’s own.