It’s been a long time since I posted regularly on this website. So I want to come back to it by telling you a little bit about how I feel…
I am sad, and I don’t deserve to be so sad. I am lonely and scared, and I don’t deserve to be so lonely and scared. I’m just unhappy, and I don’t think I deserve it.
I thought I was happy for a little while. But somewhere along the way I lost that happiness that I had. I don’t know how. I suppose it was probably me. When we finally get what we think we want, do we take it for granted and loosen our grip and watch it slip away? Or in some perhaps subconscious flight do we chase happiness away to get back to the familiar grounds of stable despair that we carry from childhood? I don’t know. A lot goes on beneath the empty smile.
I don’t think I will ever be happy. I feel like I deserve to be happy, but I guess I just will never get what I deserve. I sort of want to give up on getting what I deserve I suppose. But in that emptiness I realize I can try to make other people happy. I don’t think making some other happy will make me fundamentally happy or satisfy me. I still want to do it though.
Even if I’m not happy with the plate of food in front of me, I can feed someone who is hungry. Even if my clothes don’t make me happy, I can clothe those that need clothes. A house of my own may not be the oasis of escape and happiness so often dreamed, but I can give shelter to the homeless.
I want to provide clean water and hospitals to those that are sick. I want food for the hungry, and homes for the homeless. I want jobs for the unemployed. I want freedom for those imprisoned. I want peace for the war-torn families shaking in fear that they may end up in tomorrow’s statistics of collateral damage.
I guess I’ve learned that I don’t need to be the strongest person to be able to help others or to try to make other people happy. I don’t need to be the richest or most powerful to spread happiness. I don’t need personal or financial success to treat the world in a loving way. Mainly I think I don’t need to be happy to give happiness to others.
Amassing ridiculous financial wealth or fame or popularity or career-success has never interested me much. I have always felt like an outsider among those possessing or headed for some kind of common version of success and only at home among the wayward or rebellious. My family and my children are the only things that have really kept me grounded. I love them; I do. Maybe I would be homeless or in prison myself if I didn’t need to feed my kids or want to spoil my wife in my middle-class way. But as hard as it is to say, even my family hasn’t made me happy or satisfied, instead perhaps conflicted but indeed grounded.
I suppose I am gracious that I seem unable to achieve some kind of complacent satisfaction or happiness. What kind of sick person could be happy or satisfied in this world?! This world in which children starve by the thousands each day? In which billions live in absurd poverty? In which homes sit vacant next to the homeless and food sits expiring on shelves down the street from the starving? In which millions of nonviolent people rot in prisons for twisted political and financial reasons, marijuana possessors for instance? In which millions if not billions want jobs but are denied them. In which millions or billions of people including children want education but are denied? In which oil wars and racism and misplaced hate and violent destructive profiteering plague all? A world in which there is more than enough food to feed the hungry and more than enough resources to provide food, clothes, clean water, shelter, healthcare and education to everyone, but in which so many people go without not because of their own laziness and not by their own choice but for no good reason and through no fault of their own.
And even the lucky minority who have those basic needs met are generally unhappy, more than me I imagine. That’s because they believe in a lie. One shirt might make a naked man happy, but 20 shirts doesn’t make a man 20 times as happy. A warm meal and a cottage might satisfy the homeless man, but a hundred mansions and a thousand pounds of food a day won’t make a single rich man a hundred times more happy. These people don’t get what they need either, but what they need you can’t buy and you can’t grow and you can’t build in a factory. They are broken disturbed people and they are chasing the wrong goals. Sure they make everything worse for the rest of us but even more they make things worse for themselves. Perhaps I feel more sorry for these folks than anyone. Do you feel more sorrow for the person who is stabbed by another or the person who slices their own wrist? I don’t know. Suicide rates literally increase in people who win the lottery. These kinds of people would drop bombs on innocent families of children to make a buck, but that same buck is killing them too. Those who promote greed and capital competition on utilitarian grounds are victims of circular reasoning: They measure the benefits of wealth-obsession by how wealthy it makes people. I could give a damn about an increase in the average income when children are starving. I don’t care about a percentage point change in GDP when whole families are homeless even on the streets of America. Screw the economy.
I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. I’m just an unhappy man rambling here. I know there is a lot of people who do feel like me. I know there is thousands if not over the lifetime of this website a million people who have read things I wrote here, many who agree and some who are inclined to reach out to me. I wish I could be more of a leader for you. I don’t have the confidence of a natural leader. I don’t have the decisiveness. Despite this kind of rambling, I’m not opinionated enough. I don’t have the perfect plan for you—or what I falsely believe to be the perfect plan. I just have some of these beliefs. I believe this world is crazy and I believe only a deeply disturbed person could feel sane living in this crazy world. I hope you believe as I do, but if you do I feel sorry for you because I know it’s not a recipe for happiness. It’s being dissatisfied with where you are but without a destination or even a map.
The thing I am most surest of though is that I do love you. I may have never met you and I may never meet you, but I love you. We’re in this together.
Let me know what you think.
A chilling Wow.
Dark! Raw! Honest!
I am not at all despondent about the world! Sure, selfishness and greed abound but that can be changed and that’s our challenge!
Our day will come!
A very touching and self revealing article. I can relate and understand your feelings. The world has its bad sides for sure, but it has its good sides as well. Not all is dark and there are some good people out there. We can’t change the world completely, but can try to improve it whenever possible (by donating money or time, volunteering, helping others and treat them right and so on).
I hope you do manage to recapture the happiness you had with your family, for your sake and theirs. One should learn to enjoy the small things in life and live life to the fullest. Being unhappy won’t help no one. Life is too short to miss out the great moments with your family because of being despondent.
I admit I happy with my lot and my family and they give me the courage to go on. I disagree that only ” deeply disturbed person could feel sane living in this crazy world.” It is a crazy world indeed and some great evils were done by men (aka the Holocaust for one), but it’s the only one we have and we have to do our best with the current situation. We have our own problems in my county, but I have learned to live with that and take one day at a time. I couldn’t stand it otherwise.
I agree with you about the greed points in your article.
Sorry if I rambled. Thank you for sharing your feeling.
I must say, that after reading your article, I felt this sense of mutual understanding. I have come across these insights too- the ones of unhappiness in the face of whatever you receive, whether it is enough or too little or too much.
Unhappiness is a funny thing. People go on and on searching for a life of happiness. They believe that happiness is a goal worth living for even though it is temporary. Even though it is contingent on what you get as opposed to who you are. I, like you, believe that the closest I can get to happiness is living a life of purpose. One with morality so I am not wrought with guilt over the people I could have helped in this cesspool called life.
What I will say in defense of “happiness” is that everyone deserves a chance of it. Some people may not attain it, or choose to internalize it. But not having the option to choose it is the worst thing about life.
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