About Happiness, Dreams, Starting Over

I think at times we get really confused about happiness, as if we’ll finally slide into an all-satisfying career or relationship or city that will meet every polished perfected detail of our diorama dreams.

It can’t happen. Not completely. There will always be hierarchical tension at work. Relationships take an invested effort of sweat, tears, time, your everything. Your city will grow damp and weary, too familiar in its sidewalk and smells. The inside of your head swells with baggage.

Nothing here is truly home. It’ll always feel like we’re trying to get back to a place in childhood that probably never really existed except for the sepia-toned lens of our played up nostalgia. It’s clawing for the unreachable, for the elusive mirage of innocence, like the past and future rolled into vanishing smoke.

But this doesn’t mean we still can’t be profoundly, purely happy. It doesn’t mean we need to toil for less. It doesn’t mean that dreams are dumb or hopes are silly or that we are only nose up on the water. Because sometimes you need to quit. Sometimes you need a new picture instead of getting back the old one. Sometimes it’s okay to start over, start fresh, begin again, even if it’s in the same job or city or house. The same surroundings doesn’t mean the same you. You might not have a blank canvas, but each day brings more space to keep painting. We might never feel at home here, but we can love the journey.

Being content and being complacent do not straddle a fine line. They are worlds apart. Moving on does not mean you’re restless or that you’re “upgrading,” but that you’re finding more of you. Letting go can be the same thing as love. Quitting is not always a bad word if you’re moving out of abuse and into momentum. At times it’s better to water the grass; at other times the other side of the hill is waiting. We don’t quit on our family and our marriages: but we can enter them as different people today, because today is a start. Tomorrow doesn’t happen by itself; it happens right now, and we don’t have to sit on the sidelines.

I think each day we can choose happiness, not to bottle it up to save it, but to share it within the restless wandering. Dreams can be dreamed together. Here in the meantime, we can still change our direction and make new roads, because the horizon is closing in and you get just the one. Only you get to pick your dying thoughts: so make them good ones.

— J