Today, I discovered a witty blog written by Mark Manson, an author and “life enthusiast” who quit his finance job after only six weeks to start a dating business. He wrote a piece about “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” which really resonated with me. When you get past the fact that he uses the word “fuck: over 120 times in this 12-minute article, you realize how much truth there is in the words he says and how every single person on earth would probably benefit from taking his advice to heart.
He had another article I liked called “Why Some Dreams Should Not Be Pursued.” It’s counterintuitive because society and every single self-help book tell you to pursue your passions; pursue your dreams! What he identifies that is so true is that in attaining a dream, we all have an idealistic way of seeing that dream. We think that once that dream has been attained, everything in our lives will be perfect and we be fulfilled and achieve happiness. It’s pretty much crap, though.
What I thought about was going through school, taking those God-awful SAT standardized tests, getting A’s (and B’s) on exams and ultimately finishing high school and going to college. I always thought I’d feel calmer once I got into college. College would be easier! It wouldn’t be this grueling! Boy, was I wrong. It was a painful period of life academically and socially. We always think things will get better once we attain a certain level of something or get to a certain age or point in our lives. We just face new challenges and things to grapple with. As he so succinctly says:
“The truth is that pain, longing and frustration are just a fact of life. We believe that our dreams will solve all of our current problems without recognizing that they will simply create new variants of the same problems we experience now. Sure, these are often better problems to have. But sometimes they can be worse. And sometimes we’d be better off dealing with our shit in the present instead of pursuing some ideal in the future.”
A friend of mine has dealt with acne for most of her adolescent and now adult life. She used to tell me that she was excited to get past adolescence because then she would no longer have to worry about acne breakouts around her period. Well, she is an adult now, and she still has to deal with breakouts. In some ways, they are probably worse now then they were when she was a teenager. Oh, and to add to that problem, now she (like the rest of us) has wrinkle and aging concerns on top of that! Before, there was just acne problems. Now, there are acne and aging problems!
The older we get, the newer and crazier challenges we will face. Happiness isn’t something far and seemingly intangible we should be chasing. It’s just a state of being comfortable with what you have and the life choices you have made.