Lately, I’ve been trying to find humor in a world on the brink seriousness overload. So, I’m (re-)reading a lot of Kurt Vonnegut. I guess I’m busy trying to bury my head up to my neck like an ostrich, in books.
You know you can trust someone who says, “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.” Vonnegut is an author after my own heart. Books are a great place to hide and my son wants to join me in the literary cave now. All the time.
I’ve been metamorphosing into a grumpier person though. Some things are working out for me, others still seem like flaming wreckage. Ultimately, my fixed concept of adulthood has started playing tricks on me. Shouldn’t I be happier with my life more often? Shouldn’t I be further along by now? It’s a recurring question. I’ve come to the conclusion that my happiness is being held hostage. Or maybe I’m some version of the walking dead. Both?
Happiness, obviously, can be broken down into two buckets: fleeting, as in the feeling of sunshine on your face or small victories. And a chronic variety, the general sense of contentedness about the big picture. So, it seems happiness is both a constant, and variable thing.
November hinges on the platitudes of giving thanks and being grateful. Most think happiness and thankfulness are kissing cousins. I’m very thankful for what I have, who I have in my life, but someone needs to be fired in the happiness department of my humanity.
I see my son’s imagination growing in ways I could not have anticipated. I truly believe his pretending will help with his satisfaction in life, indirectly. I don’t believe the experts who look at childhood “pretending” as delusory. I learned to respect my mind, and it respects me. Sort of.
Finn reminds me of myself, so very much. An emotional, sensitive, perceptive storyteller. But I also grant him the space to be who he is. He hasn’t had the same traumas and strokes of bad luck. He isn’t riddled with night terrors or separation anxiety like I was. For all intents, he is shaping up to be quite an outgoing and fun-loving introvert. He’s emotionally ambidextrous.
But the next few years are crucial.
I need to decide whether I should focus my energies on regaining the simplicities that comprised my happiness, and by the way, I didn’t tell this, but there is a drinking game with this post: every time I say the word “happiness” you need to take a shot of something strong. Maybe my “happiness” will give you happiness for happiness’ sake. Happiness happening yet?
Hopefully, you don’t have alcohol poisoning from that last paragraph, but nevertheless… we press on. As we lose sight of the grander scheme of things, we seem to lose track of the smaller things. Or vice versa? Who’s to know?
I want Finn to know he can be happy. I just want to lead by example.
Thanks to Mike Adamick for stoking my imagination again about the debate between magic and realism.
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Maybe I should get off of this thing and have fun.