Tonight, we went to see the Samuel Beckett play Waiting for Godot on Broadway. I read this play (and watched the movie alongside) in my senior year Advanced Placement English course….and I was not a fan. The play’s main themes are around existentialism, loneliness, questioning religion (waiting for God(ot)? According to this play, you may be waiting a long, long time….for him to never come), and questioning why we even exist and what are we as individuals really about? Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen made the play more enjoyable than what I remember from high school.
One question that the character Estragon raises made me laugh out loud. He says during the first act, “We are happy.” Long, thick pause. “What do we do now, now that we are happy?”
It reminded me of my friends, my family, the world around me in their quest for purpose and “happiness” in life. Sometimes, it’s like we are spending so much time chasing lofty ambitions or doing things because they claim to make us calmer or closer to “enlightenment” or peace that it just becomes a laughable charade. Like if you think that having a stable job, getting married, having two kids, and owning a house all equal “happiness,” what do you do once you get all those things? Is your life complete? Could you die happy that way? What do you then live your life for once all those things are checked off the list? Do you just…exist at that point?
Happiness is a state of mind, a way of seeing the world around you. I don’t really think it’s about “If I have X, then I will be happy.” That just seems so superficial. But that seems to be what our society has become.