What do you value most in your life? Really though, have you ever thought of that? What do you personally put most value in, what is your ultimate goal, what do you live for, etc etc.
I think I’ve mentioned this before on here, but to me, the ultimate goal and the key to everything is happiness. In my life, that’s what I put atop the totem pole. It’s what I aim for, it’s what I deem necessary, and it’s what I truly live for. It’s pretty simplistic, maybe I’m a simple kind of person.
Do you ever stop and think about this idea though- the idea that lots of other people don’t put happiness first? I’m not trying to say that just because I personally think happiness is the true goal in life, that everyone else should feel the same. Maybe other people already have happiness and don’t need to prioritize it. Maintaining happiness, as a constant, 24/7 thing, is impossible. It just is- you’ll have days where it seems to disappear, and on the contrary you’ll have weeks where you feel euphoric. But, it fluctuates, and I’ll make my case for why happiness is what you should aim for every day. Not money, not social status, or whatever else you could think of.
Skip back to what I said earlier:
“It’s what I aim for, it’s what I deem necessary-“
Wow. Quoting my own words felt incredibly douchey. It’s for style, ok?
Anyways, notice how I claimed that happiness is a necessity, amidst that sentence of explaining why I value it? It’s kind of a strange way to put it, isn’t it? It sounds like I’m saying that you need to be happy, and in a sense, I am.
Obviously, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s alright if you’re dealing with depression, you’re having a down day, or you just aren’t feeling it. That’s totally normal and I’m not at all saying that it shouldn’t exist, because the fact of the matter is that no matter what, it will always exist, in some shape or form. What I mean, though, is that in order for you to live your best life and do what you are capable of doing, you need happiness.
It’s a baseline. A key ingredient.
Last night I came across this realization: you don’t hear about people in the news who aren’t happy. If you do, it’s because their career is slumping- maybe the actor has been out of the spotlight for a few years, a musician hasn’t released an EP in a couple years, or the director hasn’t got on the set seriously in a while. It’s more or less a fact, I’m starting to understand, that when you’re happy, you’re doing your best work.
I came across this realization last night watching a music video with my sister. She was showing me a new band I hadn’t really heard of before, Diiv. The band is an indie/alt-rock sort of group, and she figured I’d like them. Well, I did, but one of the first things I noticed is that the lead singer, Zachary Cole Smith, looks a bit like Kurt Cobain. I really like Cobain, and so does my sister, so I mention it to her- “He kinda looks like a younger Kurt Cobain”. She nods in agreement- “Yeah, and he’s also addicted to heroin like Kurt was. He’s gotta get off it. Look at him in this video, he’s clearly on the stuff”.
Man, that’s some serious stuff, heroin. Goes without saying. And this guy, is at risk of losing his career because he can’t stay off it- he’s been arrested multiple times in possession of it, and as of now he’s in inpatient treatment to try and break his addiction. Good for him. His band has a lot of potential and, well, heroin isn’t going to get that band where they want to be.
Then, I had a crude thought. In all these studio recording videos, it was pretty clear that Smith was on his drug of choice- his eyes dilated, his face calm, and his gestures a bit slowed. “Wouldn’t being drugged out mess up his playing?” I ask, sounding like a 5 year old. My sister tells me that he seems to play better on it, and I can’t dispute it. He is passionate in these videos, stringing together melodies with his brother and the rest of their band like it’s nothing. He really loves what he’s doing!-or, is it the heroin?
Seriously. Why do people usually get addicted to drugs anyway? To me, most cases must be because they’re fed up with their reality and are tired of fighting, in a sense they take an alternative path. Some people say it’s the “easy way out”, but I’m not gonna say that because you can never know how bad someone is struggling if they resort to something as infamous as heroin. And, much like the man who I compared him to, Kurt Cobain, Smith has a history of depression, it turns out. No surprise there.
I don’t judge people who are addicted to drugs as much because of this. I give them the benefit of the doubt, as we should as they’re all people just like us relatively sober people. I obviously want people with addictions to get off them, because they’re flat out life threatening, and there is other help available.
But, back to the point I’ve been trying to make- Diiv may not be heard of if it weren’t for Smith artificially manufacturing his happiness. It’s something to think about. Heroin is horrible and he should’ve never turned to it, but he likely did it to escape depression. And, when he did, he found happiness, and he found his art. He made it big, and I don’t doubt it’s because he was happy.
In less severe cases, we see people on television who appear happy all the time. Think about Jim Carrey. As a kid, I thought he couldn’t frown. He was always having fun, making jokes, and seemed to not even know what the feeling of sadness was. As I grow older, I find he has a history of manic depression that runs in his family, and that comedy has always been his scapegoat. It’s great, that he could find happiness in the comedy genre, because that vaunted happiness made him a legendary career. Would Jim Carrey ever have been heard of if he chose politics? Well, if he were happy doing it, maybe. You won’t being doing your best work until you’re happy doing it, and that translates. People feed on it, and you sort of become one with what you do.
Personally, I know it to be true. I can’t create if I’m depressed. Whenever I’d have a spell of sadness, I usually don’t do what I want. Then, that day where the sadness would cease to exist, I’d come up with a bunch of ideas for a painting or video.
That’s why I put happiness in the number one spot on the life goals list. It’s always important. Even when I have it, I’m trying to keep it as long as I can. I’m trying to manufacture it in the hardest of places. The reason I do that, is because I know it’s vital. Happiness first, the rest will figure itself out.
Thanks for reading
Luca DeJesu, 6:35 PM