Goo Goo Dolls – Notbroken
One question that is often asked is “are you happy?” I hear this question at least once a week, and I ask it of myself probably every day. But what does that mean? The answer they want to hear is “yes” and if I don’t answer that, the follow up question is “why not?”
By all rights, I should be happy. I have a great job with great hours, I live a few minutes from my family who loves me, I have the best friends I could ask for. I also have the money to do what I want without breaking the bank. All these things, according to the world, are what makes us happy. So it leaves me wondering, what exactly is happiness?
To me, it’s not an emotion. I’m mean, yes, there is the emotion “happy” or “joy” but to be happy, it’s not an emotion exactly. It’s the same with love, love is more than just an emotion. It’s a choice. If you love someone, you have to wake up every morning and choose to love them no matter what. It’s the same with happiness, you have to wake up every day to choose to be happy.
It’s not easy. It’s something that I have to fight every single day. Some days I make it, some days I don’t. I could go on and on about how I’ve beaten myself up about the days that I didn’t make it. The days where I’ve called in sick to work because I just couldn’t handle it. But, that misses the point. It’s not about the days we don’t make it. The important part is looking back on the days I did.
To be able to look back and say “you won that battle, but you haven’t won the war.” Practically though, what does that look like? How do you do that when all seems lost? It’s learning from your mistakes, to pick yourself up, and keep pushing forward. But, it doesn’t mean you have to push forward right away.
For example, I recently got back into playing Minecraft. It’s been one of my favorite games for awhile. I’m playing a customized version of it that starts you on a block of dirt with a tree on it. All around you is void. It has mods installed on it so that you can build other things besides just wooden structures, and eventually you could get anything you could normal get and do in the game.
With this mode, it starts out slow, waiting constantly for the trees to grow so that you can continue building out a platform. I had put about five hours into the game, finally gotten to a point where I could start doing other things besides watching trees grow constantly when my game crashed. It corrupted my game file, and I lost everything I had done the past couple of hours.
When that happens, the last thing I want to do is start over from scratch and build it all up again. So I don’t. I turn off the game and do something else, either play another game, go to sleep, read a book, anything. In that moment, I can’t deal with the game, and trying to wouldn’t lead to anything with a positive gain.
I think that’s something people often don’t realize. You don’t have to face everything right away. It’s not weakness to put something off until you are ready to deal with it. That doesn’t mean that you put it off forever, you do eventually have to deal with it. Just like I’ll go back to the game and play it again.
So to bring this around to happiness. For me, to be happy, it’s not about the money I have, or the quality of my life. It’s my ability to pick myself up, and face the problems I’m having.
One of the aspects of my condition, I have a hard time with emotions. I don’t process them “correctly.” By the time the emotion I’m suppose to be feeling actually reaches my body, it’s gone through so many filters, it doesn’t actually take effect. I’ve struggled for years on how to describe what this actually looks like. The best way I’ve been able to describe it. By the time the emotion takes it’s effect, I’ve been removed from the equation. It’s as if I’m looking at myself from a third person perspective. I see that I’m laughing, crying, or whatever the emotion is. I see that I’m experiencing that, but my mental cognition doesn’t register it. I’m basically experiencing two different things at the same time.