I’ve spent a few days now in a state of euphoria the like of which I cannot remember (at least, not outside of a rock concert or the few days following one). Nothing extraordinary has happened to cause this, and I haven’t done anything specific that would warrant this prolonged natural high. It’s just that this seems to be a time when many plans that had been worked on for months and sometimes years, have started coming to fruition, often unexpectedly.
I’m busy all the time. There aren’t enough hours in the day, or days in the week. Yet I wouldn’t say that time flies – I am constantly aware of its passing and of everything I use it for. Singing practices. Writing two stories side by side. Freelance translating that I would call my day job, were I not often doing it at odd hours of night. I am acutely aware of the time spent on all of these things, and of the results that are produced in the end.
What I would really like to talk about right now would be something I’ve been incapable of shutting up about for almost a day now. How, without any identifiable specific reason and in the middle of a casual practice, the quality of my singing made a leap, like a switch flipping in my head, making me hear things I couldn’t hear before, finally knowing exactly how they must be sung, and suddenly able to sing them, and sounding like I always knew in my head I should be… It was a mind-blowing experience. But it’s not it that I want to talk about right now, but rather, what it made me realise.
Two things. The source of true happiness. And the meaning of life. Yes, just like that. I’m ignoring centuries of philosophy and boiling it all down to a few paragraphs.
Happiness. It isn’t money, it isn’t status, it isn’t glory… heck, it isn’t even love. I’m not saying that some of these things aren’t more real than others, I’m not saying that they can’t make you happy, because they are, and they do, but… Any and all of these things can be taken away from you. Normally, the more real something is, the more difficult it is to take it away from you, but life happens, and life’s a bitch. Protect what’s yours, they say, and it’s an important thing to do. But what is it that’s actually yours and no one else’s, something you can actually hold on to, something that can never be taken away?
It’s you. It’s who you are. It’s what you do. It’s who you CHOOSE to be and what you CHOOSE to do to be that. It’s this choice of yours that is yours and yours alone. You’ll never be happy if you let anyone – or anything – else choose for you.
You weren’t too sure what you wanted to study, but went to that school because your parents wanted it. You weren’t too sure whether you wanted that job, but it’s been offered and you thought you could give it a go. After a while, you didn’t like it all that much, but it continued to pay well, and you stuck around because you weren’t sure what you wanted to do otherwise. At least, for your sake, I hope you weren’t sure, because it’s better to be uncertain than a coward who knows what he wants but chooses to hang back. You know that choice that is yours, that choice that is YOU? It isn’t that only when it’s a good choice. If you choose to be a coward, that is also who you are, and what you need to live with.
Which brings me to my next point. The meaning of life. It’s entwined with the happiness thing so heavily that the result defies the rules of causality and becomes a state in which the cause and effect are happening at the same time.
Come on, now. Take a good hard look at where you are, at what you are doing, at where you’re going. All that… that’s your life. That’s YOU. Do you like what you see?
Are you living someone else’s life instead of your own? Are you letting someone or something else make choices for you? Are you choosing to be something you’d rather not? In short, are you happy? Right here, right now? Not once you’ve accomplished this, not once you’ve become that – but right now? Without a when, without an if, without a but. A person who follows the words ‘I’m happy’ with when-s, if-s and but-s is as happy only as much as a coma patient on life support is living.
Think about it.