The other night, as I casually browsed my PVRs, I came across Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Parts Unknown: Buenos Aires’ and decided to watch it. This was an episode where Anthony was more open than I have seen him be in the past and I highly recommend you all check it out. I’ve always loved Bourdain for his honesty and willingness to explore all aspects of any culture. And he did just that during his most recent trip to Argentina by partaking in what is apparently a completely normal practice for its citizens; therapy. In between segments of Bourdain devouring copious amounts of meat, he attended what was the most entertaining and revealing therapy session I’ve ever seen. In short, even though Anthony has what he knows to be “the greatest job in the world”, he still would like to be happier (shocker, right? how can anyone who eats and travels for a living NOT be happy). He also went on to discuss his; fears, anxieties, and general unhappiness with life while referencing one of my favourite authors: George Orwell. It was in the midst of that moment that it suddenly hit me; there is no such thing as a “constant state of euphoria”, it’s not normal for humans to be happy ALL the time. We’ve been born with a wide range of emotions all of which are perfectly normal to exercise at any given point. And so perhaps this idea of eternal happiness is somewhat overrated and pointless to follow.
I Like Realists Whether They Are Happy Or Not.
After that episode aired I really thought about how much I can relate to Anthony Bourdain. When you’ve seen a lot from the world and have travelled (not just in touristy areas), you can’t help but to think about the inconsistencies the world presents you with. Some of the people I love most in my life are the cynical realists who can hold an intelligent conversation about how messed up the world can be…. how then can anyone be constantly happy if you have any grasp of reality?
Still, we can be thankful for the blessings we have been granted and find a way to utilise these blessings for the greater good of society. Sure, often it seems daunting to even fathom having any kind of incremental effect on the world but if we don’t even try, what then is the point of life itself. If we let ourselves die while we are still alive, we will soon be living in George Orwell’s 1984; searching for anything with an ounce of meaning that will make us feel again.
Even though I can be a cynical person at times, I don’t let that ruin my hopes that I can make a difference, even an incremental one. You can’t just sit there and complain about everything without any action . In fact, in my opinion, if you are not doing something to make things better in the world you don’t have the right to complain about it at all. We are here for a short time and then we are gone. We have the choice to live a life with or without meaning. I guess the choice is really entirely up to us.
What I know for sure:
- Happiness is overemphasised and not meant to be a constant state of being.
- Being grateful can be challenging at times but important to practice nonetheless.
- People who pretend to be happy all the time scare me.
- Instagram has cultivated a fake culture that pressures us to always be happy participants in the platform or envious/depressed observers.
- Clean your social medias regularly from the people you don’t want to follow anymore and limit the time you spend on it.
- There is much work to be done with the tools you already have, find a way to get started.
- Keep searching for something that will give you a reason to wake up in the morning.
- Don’t let 2017 be George Orwell’s 1984.
- Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving but all year-round.
References and other good reads:
- Happiness Is Overrated- Harvard Business Review
- Two-Faced: How Social Media Is Turning Us Into A Fake Generation
- Why It’s Normal Not to Be Happy All the Time
- Social Media Is Not Real Life, But That’s Not the Problem
- Anthony Bourdain Ate Beef and Went to Therapy in Buenos Aires
- 13 quotes from George Orwell’s 1984 that resonate more than ever