Please, please, please read the title and understand it. This is not a step by step guide to happiness for everyone. Such a thing doesn’t exist. This is a step by step guide to how I’ve become happy. Some things are minor details of my life, others are major moments. This, as most of my blogs have become, will probably be a series. So if you find yourself agreeing with several of my other blogs, then perhaps you can garnish some wisdom from this. if not, then it still feeds my narcissism quite adequately. Gotta eat.
The first step, and arguably the most important one that I’ve ever taken in my life, is to surround yourself with ONLY people that you really want around you. I’ve addressed this in several of my blogs, songs, and conversations with people so I won’t go into too much detail. Bottom line, eliminate titles and associations. Words like mother, father, friend, cousin, husband, wife, daughter, all of them. Get rid of them, forget that you ever knew what they meant. Look at each person in your life as simply a person in your life. Do you want that person there? Don’t wonder if they want to be there, don’t wonder if they should be there, just ask if you want them there.
DISCLAIMER: I AM AN EXTREMELY SELFISH PERSON. I LIVE MY LIFE SOLELY FOR MYSELF, MY WIFE, MY DAUGHTER, AND MY SON. IF YOU’RE NOT LIKE ME, GREAT. I ADMIRE YOU.
Eliminating people around you, that you’ve discovered you don’t want around, can be a difficult thing. Eliminating my mother, who is the one person who possesses most of my similar mental “defects,” was actually much harder than I may make it seem. Granted, my wife is the only who truly knows me, and loves me, but my mother understood what it was like to be me, to a degree. That was always our problem, we knew what the other one was going through, knew how to inflict pain on them, and knew how to heal them. We just didn’t understand this about ourselves. As difficult of a time as it was following her removal from my life, I am better for it, and my children will be better for it.
This applies to everyone around you. Friends, family, anyone. In a period of 18 months I eliminated 95% of my “friends,” my mother, step-father, all cousins, aunts, uncles, all living grandparents and step grandparents, and my brother. Of those, 1 friend and my brother are the only two to ever be allowed back in to my life. Sound self righteous? Sound selfish? You’re exactly right. I have a universe that I’ve created for myself and I only allow those that I choose, to exist within it. I’m aware of how selfish this is, but I’m also aware that it’s the only way that I can achieve happiness, and a meaningful relationship with anyone. I don’t believe in acquaintances. Their existence is a requirement in my professional life (which is a requirement of my personal life), and isn’t allowed in my personal life. If I don’t want someone to know me, then they simply don’t. I have two personalities, and only a select few get access to the real one. My wife is the only one to ever experience my true personality, unhinged. All the mental blocks that I impose on a daily basis to keep people at bay, and to prevent questions, are removed when I’m with her. I say exactly what I’m thinking. I do exactly what I want. It is truth, and it is pure love. “No lies, just love” to put it another, more eloquent way. 🙂
This brings me to the next step. Experience true love. This could be romantic, or this could be friendship. My definition of true love is exactly what I described above. Removal of all barriers. All ugly details. Pure honesty. With pure honesty comes a comfort that allows anything to be said, and no one will take offense. My favorite is example is the stereotypical question of a woman to a man, “Do these pants make my ass look big?” If they’re asking, then the answer is probably yes. If the answers no, then they’re just fishing for compliments and have confidence issues. Because my wife and I have complete honesty, and true love, I can answer the above question and it doesn’t shatter her world. It doesn’t so much as hurt her feelings. She just knows it’s true. She might as well be asking the time of day. It affects her mood no more than if I said “Seven o’clock.” Similarly, she can tell me that a certain song I”m working on, isn’t my best work. Do I cry? do I throw down my pen and stomp off? No. I take the truth she has given me and proceed with life. I modify the song, or scrap it entirely knowing that there is no point in making something that is less than what I’ve made before. This is true love.
The next step is to have a dog. At least once in life get a big ass, mean looking, but sweet as hell, dog. Why? Because you’ve never felt this kind of devotion and connection before, unless you’ve had a big dog of your own. I know, this seems to contradict what I said above. It’s a different kind of bond though. There are many types of true love and this is one of them. A prime example: my dog and I were walking along one night, after dark, and as we round a corner where there are no streelights another dog approaches us. This strange dog was either a pit bull or a boxer, I couldn’t tell in the dark, and was acting very aggressively. it was growling and had it’s back arched down, and hind legs straightened. I assume it felt like we were invading in it’s territory and it wanted to defend itself. The point is, that without a moment’s hesitation my dog moved from my side to stand directly between the strange dog and me. As the dog moved, my dog moved. She was there, a low rumble coming from her stomach, ready to defend against this threat to me. She’s always checking me, checking my reaction, my emotions, my posture. She can sense what I’m feeling and acts accordingly. I’m convinced that if it came down to it she would die to protect me. This is something everyone should experience.
Another step is to grow a garden. It could be as small as a flower box on your window sill or several acres of crops. I’ve been gardening since I was around 4 or 5 (I don’t remember my exact age, but I remember my first strawberry field), and there’s nothing like it. Do it without chemicals to. I’m talking being out there, in the dirt, pulling weeds by hand, adding compost instead of chemical fertilizer, working the ground, connecting with the plants. Watching something grow from a seed into a mature plant is incredible, and if you’re growing produce then you’re in for an even bigger treat. You have a great appreciation for food when you’re directly responsible for its existence. you savor the flavor just a little bit longer because you know just how long, and how much labor, was involved to bring it your plate. It’s less immediate, and you know just long it will be before more could be produced.
Get a tattoo. Having to put that much thought into something that can never be removed is a good process to help develop long term thinking skills. If possible have an amateur do your tattoo as well, that way it’s as much about them as it is about you. I have 7 tattoos and they were all done by friends in their homes, and mine. Granted they may or may not be as good as one done by a “pro” but I know that I love them more. I feel a connection through the tattoo with the person who did it. I voluntarily let them permanently scar my body. I put my skin in their hands trusting that they wouldn’t destroy it. Again, it’s a very unique bond to have with a person.
Get into a fight. Now I’m not saying that you become an asshole and go pick a fight, that would be stupid, and would serve no purpose. If you’re at all confrontational, or have ever been drunk, then you’ve probably gone to the brink. That moment when an argument or situation has escalated to the last possible level, before it turns into a physical fight. I’ve been there dozens of times, and have only gone over the cliff a fraction of those times. What I’m suggesting is that you let yourself go over the cliff at least once. Don’t pull back, don’t count to ten, don’t calm down. FIGHT. You’ll probably get your ass kicked, as I have several times before, but it’s still an intriguing experience. Your ability to feel pain seems to disappear. You don’t even breathe. Your body fuels itself on adrenaline alone. You feel yourself losing control, becoming more like an animal than anything. The few times that I’ve won a fight, if you can call it winning, are when I’ve completely given in. Completely gave up control and turned it over to my anger (which is sizeable). My definition of winning a fight is basically being able to walk away when the other guy can’t. Interestingly enough, I’m usually the other guy. While you feel no pain during a fight, you feel a lot afterword. Also what’s interesting is that the fight seems to last five times longer than it actually is. You feel like it’s been minutes and it’s only been 30 seconds.
If you eat meat, see a slaughtering. I’m not talking about a butchering, but a slaughtering. Watch them take down your dinner. Going deer hunting will suffice as well. This relates back to my point on gardening.
That’s all for now, as I’m exhausted. More to come. I want to end this by saying that I love my daughter. For some reason I get the impression that she may read this in one form or another someday, and I never want her to guess as to whether or not her father loved her. I always have. I’ve loved her since she was merely an idea in my 16 year old brain. I’ve loved her from the moment I first saw her in an ultrasound. I’ve loved her from that first cry she let out in the hospital, to her first word, to her first nightmare, to her first try and imagining, and onto everything that she will do. I’ve dreamt it all, and I’ve loved her everything she’s yet to do but I know will come. I love her for being one of only two people still in my life to make me cry. She is love. She is amazement. She is the proof of God’s existence. She is the reason that I have managed to exist for so long. She is the answer to my resounding question of why. The earth exists for her. And as I drift on, slowly getting closer to old age, and as I slowly lose the strangle hold that I’ve had on my own wandering mind, she is the anchor I grip to, to keep pulling me back.