And perhaps just a little of loving life’s marts. For trading what one has to share is the route to riches, both financial and heartfelt; and money really can buy love and happiness. Sorry. This truth is not fair, but it is a truth; money can too buy happiness—of sorts, at least. It affords one the wherewithal to enjoy the happiness of pursuit, with some capture, some wins.
By the way, that is the key to happiness. Particularly pursuit. Allow me to explain.
The film Boyhood, 2014, by Richard Linklater, had in it a quote about happiness that moved me to my core.
In case you haven’t seen it, the movie is about a boy who literally grows up on screen, from age six to 18. It really does actually film this boy and the other characters over 12 years. 12 years of filming the same characters of course could make for what might be the best character-development film of all time; but more epically, it may well capture the human comedy/tragedy on film as well as any film ever has. And within that lovely coming-of-age filming, it just may have captured the meaning of life.
I know; but, yep.
Here’s the quote that so moved me:
“Life is not about the pursuit of happiness; it’s about the happiness of pursuit.”
Then, the morning after I saw the movie, I found an interview with the main character, Ellar Coltrane, during which he answers a question about what he learned from doing the movie:
“Really I just want to be lost in the creative process more than anything. And that’s kind of what I found over the last twelve years; that that’s really the thing that makes me the happiest: to just be submerged in the process of making art and kind of not concerned with the outcome. Working over that long, that’s kind of how it became. I think we, in a way, forgot that it was ever going to come out, that it was ever going to be a movie. It was just this experience that we were having. And that’s the beautiful thing.”
So I want to impart to my loved ones that very nearly everyone shares the same lessons and advices at the end of their life. It basically boils down to, “live your life.” Go live it; don’t just let it happen to you. Steer your bus the direction you want to go. And drive your bus. Don’t just ride in the damned thing. Drive it. Go for it. Go for a full, happy, loving life. And enjoy the drive.
Then, most people at or toward the end of their life advise the things worth going for include first and foremost, love. Find someone to wake up with who you like having around during waking hours, too. That will become love.
I have the following to add about love: don’t search for the one-and-only that’s “meant for you.” When you have that striking feeling like the angels are pining or singing for you and that one to be happily ever after, that’s not really angels. That’s almost certainly your past telling you this is someone with whom you have some past life connection. And that connection may or may not be one of loving each other—although even if it was a past life of enemies, that, too, is a kind of connection that had some reach and withdraw in it. Further, when you bump into someone in life that makes your heart flutter like that, you two probably had both loving and enemy past lives. Bottom line: love people like they are important to you even if you don’t know them. Love. Do love, rather than seek love. It’s something you do; not something you receive.
The next thing most people at the end of their lives advise is family. Same concept, really; do it, rather than seek it. Outflow “familiness” rather than feel you need to receive something. Call them. Write them. See them. Eat with them. Hug them. Go to the kids’ awful school performances. And send smiley enjoyment to the kids and to their parents.
Following that, work. Again, pretty much the same advice: Do it. Outflow it. Do it to give, to help, to make things better around you. Don’t just “go to work, to get a paycheck.” If your work is like that, change your work. Again and again, if necessary.
You should make friends at work. You should find people you like to spend time with outside of work, even if only a beer or coffee. School friends should be those kind of people for you, too. You want to make them feel good rather than feeling like you need them to help you feel good. Making others feel good is the single best thing you can do to help yourself feel good.
Try hobby activities. Even with strangers, or alone. You’ll find things you like doing. Your kind of things. If you try enough new things, you’ll find YOUR things. Sure, try your friends’ kinds of things. Some of them may well be your kind of things to do. You will find friends who become good friends when you are doing things you like to do.
But don’t confuse the pleasure you derive from hanging out with friends with the pleasure you derive from doing things you like to do with friends. Find the things you like to do with or without friends. When you find your favorite things to do, you’ll find even more friends. And friends who like to do the same thing you do will become even better friends.
Also, don’t confuse the pleasure you derive from doing things with friends with the pleasure you derive from doing things FOR your friends. Sharing with others, and helping others feel lovelier, livelier, smarter is what life is about; THAT’s what you will recall most fondly when you scan back over your life and your accomplishments. That is what you can do to increase your own happiness when you want to.
One of the easiest, fastest ways to share with and help others is by simply showing them gratitude. Find something about your friends and loved ones to be grateful for, and tell them that. You will increase happiness in both of you. Happiness hangs on the hooks of gratitude.
I am grateful that you read this. May it improve your Love, your Life, your Smarts.
I invite your comments. Please do.