For the first time in the longest time, I feel happy. To define happiness, analyse it, pull it apart and quantify it is exhaustive and to articulate what I feel exactly would take too much time. So I’m just going to stick with ‘happy’. And, this is so satisfying to finally be able to say truthfully, I’m content with where I’m at in life. I see people having crazy amounts of success, chasing their passions and having their dreams come to fruition and no amount of envy simmers in my blood. If anything, I’m happy to see other people so alive. And not in a ‘I’ll never have that’ kind of way, in more of a ‘fuck yeah go you, you sweet human’ kind of way.
See I spent so long, longing to become a successful musician. I poured my heart and soul into that dream. It was all I thought about, everything I obsessed over and it encompassed all of who I wanted to be. It was an unrelenting passion that dictated almost every decision I made. I actually made some exciting steps in the industry too. I was networking really well, I had labels that were interested in my material and I was writing about 3-4 songs a week at a decent standard. But you know what? I was never, not even for a single moment, content. Not even for a second. In fact it nearly destroyed the love that I have for my craft. I would see other musicians my age making waves in the industry and I would become so disheartened that I wasn’t making that same kind of progress. It completely deflated me. I was constantly comparing my ‘success timeline’ to well established artists who I looked up to. If my timeline didn’t match up, I deemed myself a failure. Comparison kills confidence. That is the truth.
So what changed? Well, I decided that I don’t want my life to be defined by timelines and expectations. I realised I was dealing in absolutes. It was either music or nothing. Fame or failure. And so on. Silly old Jo. I learned that life is far from being black and white. Our lives are essentially a blank canvas and we can create whatever we want to. Societal conventions and limitations only really have as much control over us as we let them, in my opinion. I’ve heard people say “Well good luck chasing fairies overseas when you have a mortgage and 3 kids”. Well if you end up with a mortgage and 3 kids, that was a direct result of your choices, wasn’t it? My point is, life is driven by our decisions and our decisions are decided by no one other than ourselves. Sure there are things like general health, psychology, personality types, values, beliefs and every little individual detail down to our idiosyncratic tendencies to consider. But even then, the things we hold as concrete absolutes can easily become fluid under some critical questioning.
So what did I do? Nothing spectacular really. I got myself a simple job as a labourer which pays well and set myself a goal: Save enough cash for a 6 month adventure through Portugal, Spain and the rest of Western and Northern Europe. And the best part? I’m gonna cruise along those crystal coastlines every step of the way in a fucking Combi van. Yeah boi. The work is hard, the hours are long but honestly I haven’t been this happy in a long time. And as for the future…I’ve finally decided that I want to work in the area of counselling and/or psychology. That stuff interests me far too much to not at least try to study it properly. But for the short-term- adventure is on the horizon.
So to all you people out there. Single, married, partnered, kids, no kids, disabled, able, homeless, sheltered, healthy, sick, black, white and all the colours inbetween- wherever your life has eventuated to up until this point. Have faith that life remains beautiful, and you can make whatever adventure you want out of it. It’s never too late and you never have too little. I believe that with all my heart.
As Gang of Youths so eloquently put it;
‘Not everything means something honey. So say the unsayable, say the most human of things. If everything is temporary, I will bare the unbearable terrible triteness of being’.
Go farther in lightness, you sweet human!