Joy deconstructed

by Jon Sullivan - 2021-09-29

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I will forever be a pessimist. And for most of my life happiness has been elusive. But lately, even with all the crap in the USA going on, I find I'm transitioning to being pretty happy.

It's odd. When I was younger I had so much to be happy about, but I spent most of my time being angry and self-loathing and aggressively sarcastic and drunk and sociopathic. Here we are in 2021 with it's rush towards inevitable civil war. With it's great plague and associated death cults. With it's unassailable oligarchic plutocracy. The last 6 years have been objectively disgusting. Yet I'm pretty happy. And I don't know why.

All the things that used to make me happy - Being drunk, being a jerk, sex and romance, aren't in my life at all anymore. Well.... Sure, I can still be a jerk, guilty, but it used to be a way of scoring points. Now it's really something I want to avoid. And sure, I have love in my life. But it's not the selfish love I used to chase after. So where is all this happiness coming from?

Of course I don't wander around in an eternal state of bliss all day. I have my Jon-like moments of anger and sadness and longing. Now those emotions pass, where they used to be a swamp I lived in.

It's a big change. Going from low level suicidal depression to low level joy. Going from "this all sucks and I hate it" to "this is all pretty good and I like it". Going from regular tears of depression to regular tears of joy. I've literally reached out to friends and family and asked them if I'm crazy. As if simply not being unhappy is cause for concern. As if non-depression might require treatment. "What?!! I didn't realize you were so happy. Please get help for that. You don't have to live like this. Here's a toll-free hotline."

I don't know why. I'm sure not being drunk so much has a lot to do with it. As has been pointed out, alcohol is a chemical depressant. As gleeful as it might make you, it's still toxic. It's still poison that kills and destroys lives. Hard to build systemic happiness through regular ingestion of poison. And there are things which are directly sad but tangentially happy making. Covid lock down sucks, but makes people with social anxiety happy. Parents dying is traumatic, but makes healing finally an option. Trump voters only hate, but amplify the satisfaction of being a good person.

Maybe it's just part of getting older. LOL...... Yeah right. Getting old is so happy making.

Maybe a small drop of happy can build to a river of happy. LOL...... Yeah right. Maybe I should write Hallmark cards.

In the end it doesn't matter. Tears of joy don't need no stinkin' reason.

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