It never ceases to amazes me how sometimes, the things I am thinking or talking about with a friend are driven home by an event that has nothing to do directly with me.
Kayne West had some kind of melt down this week. He was rambling on stage, cancelled a concert and ended up in a hospital for a psyche evaluation. Kayne West. Beautiful wife, two beautiful children, more money than anyone could ever need, fame, adulation. One unhappy mess.
Reminds me of someone else who had it all. Whitney Houston. Stunningly gorgeous, a beautiful daughter, tons of talent, tons of money. So unhappy, she had to fall into drugs that eventually brought on the end of her life.
This came to mind because I was having a conversation with a dear friend of mine. He has struggled over the last decade, trying to put a life that has gone off track back on track. During the conversation, we talked about the struggle to be happy.
Yes, the struggle to be happy.
Some of you are reading that last sentence and you have no idea what that means. Struggle to be happy? HUH?
I don’t know if it is DNA, upbringing or just some weird chemical thing, but there are people who are just more inclined to happiness. Not related to what they have. Not related to what they do. Not related to who they are with. They just walk around feeling pretty good most of the time.
I think of my uncle, who passed away earlier this year. He did not have a high powered job. He did not make a ton of money in his life. He was not adored by millions. His life was very simple. He worked at the same job his entire adult life, lived in the house he was born in, in the same small Wisconsin town. Yet, the only time he was ever unhappy in his entire life, was when he had to go to a nursing home. When he had to leave that house he had lived in his entire life. Two years of unhappiness out of eighty isn’t a bad record when you think about it.
So many of us will never have that record. We compare ourselves to others. We constantly say, “If only I hadn’t moved, lost that job, married that person, blown that record deal,” then I would have been happy! The past, that didn’t quite work out, becomes that point where we were at the fork between real happiness and fulfillment and a life not quite complete.
Or is it? What more could Whitney Houston have accomplished? Or Kayne West? Still, they struggle with keeping it together. With being happy.
I had my own little epiphany this week. It is not the life that makes you happy. It is what you make of the life!
Having been a member of the “nothing is ever good enough club” I can tell you, it is not an easy transition. I truly have been eating the elephant one bite at a time. Finding joy in a job that can sometimes be stressful. Remember that even when hauling in the equipment and dealing with the sound issues is a major pain in the ass, singing someone’s favorite song still makes their day. Realizing that a slightly neurotic dog who loves you more than anything on this earth, is as wonderful as a perfect dog who loves you just a little.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day of gratitude. Yet, sometimes we struggle to find what we are grateful for.
I will be celebrating whole heartedly this year. Thankful I still have my house, thankful I have an interesting job that I don’t have to commute to, thankful I can entertain people and make their week just a little better. I have wonderful people in my life, two wonderful pets who adore me, a roof over my head and outlets for my creativity.
Wow, when I read it back, it sounds like I have a wonderful life. So many of us do. Let’s remember it tomorrow and the day after. And maybe the day after that. Three days out of 365 of happiness is a start. Not quite that seventy-eight years, but a start.