Harvesting Happiness

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, so I haven’t writing too much. I haven’t been doing much of anything lately; my job is indefinitely postponed, I’m worried that if I go outside, I’ll kill my whole family, I feel like a real-life Peter Pan, and I don’t know what to do about any of it.

There’s just so much sadness in the world right now, I can see it in the air the rare times that I go outside. People are scared, uncertain of what the future holds, and angry that it’s gotten to this point. I’ve had to fight for those fleeting milliseconds of happiness, but now, after every attempt to make life tolerable, I’ve come to the conclusion that it just isn’t enough. 

So many people I talk to say that happiness is a feeling, something that you can’t control. I think that’s bullshit.  I keep a note in my phone of everything that makes me happy, and every time I feel empty and numb, I look at that list and try to imagine the things that make me happy. It’s not a complex list, there are things like “filling your gas tank all the way up” or “finding new music” that don’t take much to achieve, but still briefly help me feel like a real person for a moment or two, and that’s so important these days. 

I’m the last person you should listen to for advice, but in this one instance, I think I’m on to something. Try it out: list the things that make you happy, and whenever you feel worthless and devoid of feeling, check that list out, it might help, it might not; I don’t know, I’m not a fucking psychologist.  

Purgatory

I feel like I’m in purgatory. I’m not advancing in life, I’m in the same place doing the same things with the same people. I feel like there has to be something I need to do, something I missed that will let me leave this place.

I’ve been slowly descending into exile, I don’t like doing things anymore, I spent the whole day just watching TV and existing. I’ve barely eaten, but I’m not even hungry. I don’t sleep too well anyway, so each day just keeps getting longer and longer.

I feel like I’m stuck in the tutorial level in life, and all the work I’ve done won’t translate anywhere else. My parents have gone to Maine for the month, so I can pretend I’m a real adult for awhile. It’s not much, I’d be dumb to think that I’ll have a house like this with the cool gadgets my parents worked their lives to afford, but in the meantime, it’s better than nothing. I wonder what I need to do in order to get my shit together and get out of this place, I’m tired of being here, I don’t know how much longer I can stay in this little town without permanently hindering my progress. I don’t want to be one of those people who looks back on their life and regrets never leaving. It’s hard to keep pushing through when the whole world feels like it’s crashing down on you, the only thing that keeps me going is that faint hope that things will be better someday. I hope I’m right, but I also know that I’m usually not.

We Are Immortal

I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy; why people do the things they do to ensure they are remembered. I think I’ve figured it out. Most of the things people do after a certain age are to prolong the amount of time that people talk about them after they’re gone. I know that as long as the Internet is around, I’ll still be around, even if I’m dead. Somebody will find these posts, read them, and hopefully talk about it with others, keeping my spirit alive long after I’m gone.

You hear stories about people hoarding absurd amounts of wealth that they could never spend in a hundred lifetimes, I get that it makes people mad, but these people don’t care what you think, they just want to be remembered for working hard enough that entire generations of their family can live comfortably. Sure, the way they get their money might not be the most noble, but the intent has to mean something. I think artists are the same way, except instead of leaving their children a shit-ton of money that will end up making them spoiled assholes, artists leave their impression on the world by showing others how they see it.

Think about Picasso: there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t at least heard his name. He is immortal, even though he died hundreds of years ago. It would be an honor to be remembered for that long after I died, although I may be getting ahead of myself a bit.

You’re Going to Die

It’s true, sorry to spoil the surprise. I’ve long come to terms with my mortality, I’m perfectly fine with whatever’s going to happen because I know that I’m probably not going to be able to overcome whatever happens. You should get used to the idea as well.

You’re going to die. It’s that simple, but nobody thinks that it will happen any time soon. Most of you are right, you’ll die of something simple after you’ve lived a long, happy life. The rest of you won’t be so lucky. You’ll get hit by a drunk driver on your way home, you’ll have a brain aneurysm, you’ll get some awful form of cancer, you’ll get hit by a stray bullet walking home from work, it’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of when and where.

What do you do after you come to terms with your mortality? Whatever you want. Once you understand that this is all bullshit, you’ll start to relax a little bit and stop sweating the small stuff. I like to think long-term: will this event matter in 5, 10, 20 years? Usually, it won’t. I know this sounds kind of shitty, but once you realize that life isn’t that impactful, you’ll start to see it under a new set of eyes.

I’m sure that my mind will change if I have kids and start thinking about my legacy, but for now, fuck that. I never hear anyone talk about this, it seems like talking about dying is something that we’ve pushed aside and made taboo, even though it’s the only thing that everyone on Earth shares with each other. With everything that’s going on in this fucked up reality TV show we call a country, I think that now’s a great time to take time to account for what’s important to you. If you’re scared, I’m sure that’s a totally normal response to the idea that eventually you’ll no longer exist, but being afraid of it doesn’t do anything productive. If you decide that fighting for what you believe in is worth it, go for it and make America proud, if not; stay home and try not to make things worse. I know where I’ll be: on the golf course with a joint and a cold beer, enjoying however long I have left.

Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

I don’t like politics, but I feel compelled to talk about the protests and the response by the police.

I’ve definitely gotten out of trouble a few times due to white privilege. I’ve gotten pulled over before, yelled the officer because I’m awkward and don’t handle stress well, and still gotten a verbal warning. If I wasn’t an upper middle-class white person, I’d probably be dead right now.

I don’t like politics, I’m not very informed, but I try to keep up with the deluge of information that flows freely through the Internet. Yes, most of the information we get is probably full of shit, and presented in a way meant to divide us, but is it better to be ignorant, or misinformed?

I know that some people feel differently, that these protests are unnecessary and an excuse to rob businesses and riot, but I disagree. Think of it this way: if you bully someone for years, and prevent them from living a normal life, you don’t get to dictate how they react when they finally stand up to you. Would you apologize for punching someone in the face after they punch you and kick you every day?

I’m torn on whether it’s best to leave this situation alone because of who I am and how I look, but I also think I have a duty to tell people that this is wrong, and we need to change.

I don’t have many suggestions on how we can change, my only halfway decent thought is that police departments need to charge officers for their crimes, and if the public sues them, they should show their full support. Additionally, maybe there could be some system like malpractice insurance that keeps police officers honest and accountable. Maybe that already exists, and I just don’t know about it.

I’ve gotta say: Minneapolis picked the worse possible time to do something shitty. We’re facing a global pandemic that has kept millions scared and unemployed, sports and concerts are canceled, so people have nothing else to keep them entertained, and no job to consider while they protest. It’s literally the dumbest possible time to kill an innocent man on camera.

We’re better than this. I don’t believe in my government, but I believe in the people of my country. We can fix this.

An Island Life

I had an idea awhile ago; I should try and write a book. I’ve always loved them, and I think I have a halfway decent story to tell, and I think I’m a decent enough writer to make something passable.

It’s hard though. I didn’t realize how hard it would be, which sounds like such a stupid thing to say. I need to change a few names and details to keep from getting in legal trouble, because the book is about 4 summers of my life on Frye Island, and I was kind of a little shit back then.

I’m about 4 pages in, and already I’m struggling. I’m not crazy enough to think that I’ll be able to write a 200-page book in a couple days, and even then, I’m not sure it’s going to be a story worth telling. I’m struggling to place all of the stories of my life into a palatable form that other people will read, and that won’t piss off the people involved in the story. Maybe I’ll just call it fiction and add enough wild shit that nobody will notice.

I love making things, and I want to create in different mediums, so maybe this book will be something great, maybe it will be abandoned in the pursuit of another medium, but I can’t say for sure right now. One thing’s for sure: if this pans out, you’ll all be inundated with my half-assed attempts to market it and see if people like it.

The College Experience

I’ve been in college since 2012, so you could say that I’m well-versed in the college experience. It’s all bullshit. I’ve been to 3 different schools, and all three of them were practically the same. The shitty truth is this: college isn’t that hard. I’m a terrible student; I don’t like to study, I don’t do it every day, or even every week, and I get straight A’s. This should scare the shit out of everyone paying $30,000 a year for a piece of paper that I can recreate in Photoshop.  I’m not even that smart, there are tons of people far, far smarter than I am, so how is it that I get better grades than them?

First and foremost, colleges are businesses. If you own a restaurant, you want to ensure that your customers are satisfied when they leave your restaurant so they tell other people about it. College is the same way. If everyone who attended college failed, nobody would go, so I think the administration put pressure on the faculty to ease grading policies to ensure that not only do their students get to brag about their GPA, but also to keep a steady flow of uninformed 18 year-olds with student loans coming through their halls.

I’m not trying to brag, I’m just some uninformed asshole on the Internet spouting my opinions, so do your research before you sign your life away to some loan company that will actively try to take advantage of your financial illiteracy. Student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, as far as I know, so if you aren’t 100% certain that college will help you get to where you want to be, don’t waste your time fucking up your credit score.

If you are dead-set on college, don’t be stupid: go to community college first. It’s not as sexy as spending freshman year blacking out on cheap vodka and Blue Gatorade, but it will pay dividends in the end.  Community college is like an extension of high school, but you’re not pumping hormones 24/7, and you don’t have to spend your days there, so it’s infinitely better, and you save money. Make sure your credits transfer though, nobody wants to go through all that work just to find out that your credits from “Intro to Microbrews” don’t transfer.

If you’re not gonna go to class, don’t go to college. I’ve done my 10,000 hours of partying, I’m a professional, so when I tell you it’s not worth it, IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Yeah, it’s fun, yeah, you’ll think you’re the shit, yeah, doing drugs is fun (allegedly), but is that worth tens of thousands of dollars? No, the fuck it’s not. If you’re going to be that person, do the world a favor and don’t go to college. Just stay in your home town and sell drugs like a normal piece of shit.

Full disclosure: I’m not 1000% certain that I’m right, you’re experience might be different than mine, you might’ve had a completely different experience and think college was the best years of your life. I’m not you, I’m just here to tell my story and hope that somebody gets useful advice from my ramblings.

Under The Influence

We are all influenced by the things we hear and see and do. There’s no avoiding it, but it definitely changes you, and that’s okay. I’ve been getting super into modal jazz, and I’ve noticed myself using 50’s slang that I’ve heard in the music. I think it’s a part of growth; you expand your horizons, and adapt the things you like. If they stick, they become part of who you are, if they don’t, they fade away.

I’m not really keyed into the whole “woke” thing, so if I’m guilty of cultural appropriation, my bad, but I’m just blindly struggling through life, so I’m not really thinking too much about it. I think that your influences make you who you are, or at least who you want to be.

I’ve got to give credit to all the people who’ve influenced me, my parents, my friends, and all of the musicians who have sent me on musical K-holes that have introduced me to the things I hold dearest. Without all of my stoner friends, I wouldn’t have gotten into rap, and I wouldn’t have delved into the samples for more music, and I would probably still be listening to Disturbed and punching walls and shit.

I’ve also got to give it up to weed and whiskey, that combo has made me a lot more open-minded and gotten me to try things I never would’ve dreamed of doing sober, like listening to talk radio, or eating a bird’s nest (not a real one, a one made of potatoes and veggies and shit.)

To wrap it up, try things, you might like them, or if you don’t, you might get a funny story out of it, so it’s a win-win.

The Luxury of Time

I know that many people are stuck inside, and that they might hate it, but it’s a blessing in disguise. You have time now, and time is the most valuable thing in existence. Everybody dies at some point, but not everyone uses their time wisely. I think that we should use this time to explore ourselves and overcome our issues, I know I am.

As fucked up as it sounds, I love this. I love being stuck in my house, and I love not having to make excuses about why I don’t want to go places. I’m also using this time wisely, but I’m also enjoying myself with it. Time is the most valuable natural resource there is, it’s the only thing we can never get more of. (Almost) everyone gets the same amount of time in their lives, the difference is where we choose to focus our time and effort. Let’s look at some famous people: did Einstein spend his time binging Netflix and chasing girls?  No, he was locked in his room making mathematical discoveries that I still don’t understand to this day. Think about where your life would be if you focused your time and stopped fucking around.

I’ve been spending my time realizing all of the creative ideas I’ve brushed aside these last few years, I’ve spent at least 10 hours making videos on Premier Pro, I’ve transcribed all of the ad ideas I’d written on receipt paper into my idea notebook, I’ve worked out my swing so that I’m not rusty for my first day back golfing, I’ve been crushing my schoolwork to the point where I’m a month ahead on my studying, so life’s pretty good for me right now. I’d be a lot happier if all this didn’t come at the expense of thousands of innocent people.

 

Safety Blankets

The world is a terrible, cold, unfeeling place. The only thing that makes me feel better are the “safety blankets” that I’ve developed over the years; those things that make me feel comfortable and safe.

Right now, music, whiskey, reefer, and bad T.V are my safety blankets. If I have the right dosage of all 4 of those things, I’ll be alright, and that’s so important to me.

I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ll either go to sleep at 11pm and wake up at 12pm, or I’ll be up until 3 or 4am, and wake up at 3 or 4pm. I’ve been trying to fall asleep sober, but it just doesn’t work. How does anyone sleep sober? It’s fucking impossible. I’ve tried everything I can think of; tea before bed, turning off all my devices and reading before bed, listening to jazz, going to bed early (this one’s the worst fucking piece of advice I’ve gotten so far), I’ve taken melatonin, Zzzquil, Ambien, you name it, I’ve probably tried it.

Wouldn’t you know it, whiskey and weed put you to sleep like nothing else. As I’m writing this, I’ve got a glass of Evan Williams and an edible in my system, so I’m hopefully going to get some sleep tonight. I’ve cut back on my usage though, because it got out of hand for awhile, and every once in awhile I still overdo it, but for the most part I’ve gotten a grip. Reefer is like a sleep cheat-code: no matter what time it is, a few hits off a joint, or a couple bong hits and I’ll be able to drift off into that sweet, sweet restful abyss. I hope there isn’t ever a time when it stops working, I’d be really screwed.

I don’t only need my safety blanket to sleep, I need it to talk to people too. I don’t like it, but I’ve gotten so awkward and anxious around people, so it’s in both our best interests that I have a couple drinks in me. Neither of us is going to enjoy the interaction if I’m sober. I used to be good with people. I used to be the guy my friends would send to talk to people because they couldn’t. I don’t know what happened to me. Maybe it was working at Dunks and dealing with the worst of humanity all day. Maybe it’s because I was always awkward, but had enough self-confidence to muscle through the awkward. Who knows.

Music is the safety blanket that is least harmful to me. I probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the music I listen to, it’s kept me going in the times I’ve been drowning and can’t see the good in anything. Music is one of the few things that actually makes me feel things, which is super uncomfortable because it makes me think I’m dead inside. If I’m ever having one of those days, I have a playlist that’s specifically meant to break me out of it with all of the songs that make me smile and laugh. Music is the biggest help, it’s one of the few things that makes me happy when I’m sober, and that is so important to me. If I can figure out which album I’m in the mood for, I can determine how I’m feeling and begin to process that emotion. Everyone has their coping mechanisms, I’ve spent the last few years developing ones that won’t kill me, so I guess that’s progress.