people would rather be right than happy

when i was a teenager, my good buddy riley was arguing with his mom about something. she was 100% incorrect about whatever they were talking about but she absolutely refused to drop it or admit she was wrong. i thought it was embarrassing, and in reference to the argument later, riley said that people would rather be right than happy.

that line has always stuck with me. i think he was right. even though his mom would have felt better if she had simply admitted she was wrong — because it takes strength of mind to admit mistakes and that’s still something to be proud of, almost like a consolation prize — she preferred to dig her heels in even further at the cost of making herself look dumber and feel more upset.

fast forward to the last few days. i bought a bass on ebay recently and while i generally love the thing, there is some wear and damage that was not mentioned in the auction and needs to be taken care of. i will do the repairs myself but i thought the seller should be held responsible for not advertising the bass accurately so i lied and asked for a $75 refund to cover the cost of having it professionally repaired. he said no way, that’s way too much, do it yourself and i’ll refund you $20. we’ve gone back and forth several times now, each of us obviously getting more annoyed with the situation, until i reached a point where i could feel myself getting really pissed off about it.

then i thought about riley’s mom, and i asked myself, why am i getting so emotionally involved in this? do i really care this much about a few dollars difference in refund? i realized that i’m getting bent out of shape over peanuts, that he cares about this more than i do, and that he has more energy to devote to this than i do. even though this guy fucked up in the first place and has said some stupid bullshit to me in the followup conversations and i want to put my finger in his chest and tell him what’s what, i’ve made the decision to choose happiness (like i’ve talked about before here), let go of this, and say, “looks like you were right buddy, i’ll take the $20 refund and be on my merry way.”

i suppose you could look at it as admitting defeat but i think cutting losses and doing what makes you happier is usually the wiser choice.

god, i’m so fucking zen. now this prick just has to send me my god damn refund so i can put this headache behind me.

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self portrait. ommmmmm

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it feels good to feel good

for the last week or so, i’ve been feeling really good, really happy, and it’s weird what a vicious cycle feeling good is — being happy about some stuff in my life makes me more appreciative of other things, like friends or good times for example, and being appreciative of those things and feeling lucky (or “blessed,” barf) makes me even happier. it’s like i’ve been on a positivity bender for a week now.

passedout

“WOO!”

and it feels great.

it’s a nice change of pace from my usual disposition, ranging of ‘slightly depressed’ to ‘very depressed.’ and while i feel like i should somehow prepare myself for this all to come to a crashing halt, for the moment the happy things stop occurring, i feel too good right now to worry about it. i know the end will come, the misery will return, and things will go back to normal but i’ll deal with it when it happens. no point in getting bummed out while i’m still feeling so good.

why am i feeling so good, anyway? steph and tony’s wedding, seeing lots of great friends i don’t see very often, the suit i put together looks great, we’re building a garage, we bought property up island, i got five new young hens, one of my adult hens went broody and is now sitting on 8 fertilized eggs i bought for her, i finally set up a micro drip irrigation system for the vegetable garden, the new twin peaks is as weird and fantastic as ever…that sort of stuff.

something else i want to note about this happiness bender: it makes me prone to the sensation of emotions welling up. like, i’ll get a text from a good friend and i’ll almost want to cry because i feel so grateful to have that friend in my life. similarly, if a really killer anti-humanistic song comes on in my car, i shudder with utter contempt and contemplate the of plunging all of reality — people, planets, the entire universe, all of time — into an endless void of nonexistence: a “red surge,” as i recently heard a convicted killer call it, except i associate red with rage and anger so i’d probably describe my welling up of negative and abstract feelings as more of a “black surge.”

anyway, being happy is just making me feel really emotional in general, i suppose. it’s kind of interesting. i like feeling things.

i don’t feel

i don’t feel much like blogging lately. i think it’s because i was blogging a lot for the last few weeks and burned myself out on it. for the last several days whenever i have checked in here, i’ve felt bored and annoyed, like i was just here out of some sense of obligation.

of course, that’s no fun so i’m making a point to blog less until such time as it starts feeling less forced.

however, there are a few things i want to get off my chest before receding into the abyss once again.

#1. i saw in the news that comedian kathy griffin posted a photo of herself holding donald trump’s bloody head. i don’t really care about this either way, but then i saw that old rocker ted nugent called her picture “downright vulgar, obscene and a genuine variation of a death threat.”

this is coming from the same guy who said barack obama could “suck his machine gun” and hilary clinton was a “worthless bitch” who could “ride one of his guns into the sunset.”

what a fucking hypocrite. it seems like lots of politically active people want to say incendiary things, mock people who take offense and call them “snowflakes,” and wave a flag for freedom of speech — only to cry foul when someone with a different opinion says something similarly inflammatory. it’s a bunch of bullshit. everyone should get some thicker skin, go ahead and talk shit, and not take offense when anyone else talks shit. then i’d never have to hear crowds of hypocrites calling each other snowflakes.

#2. last night i saw a well-dressed middle-aged guy, gassing up his very nice all-wheel drive volvo. his car had an “i [heart] vancouver island” sticker on it, and one of those annoying thule roof rack-mounted cargo boxes. he clearly thought he was a hardcore islander.

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you know you’re a wannabe outdoor enthusiast when…

then he tossed an empty plastic jug of windshield cleaner in the trash can and drove off. i wanted to say, “i see by your car, sticker, and cargo box you’re a real outdoorsy type, so perhaps you’d be interested to know that plastic like the jug you just tossed out is being found by the ton in teeny, tiny pieces throughout the guts of fish and birds in even the most remote regions of earth. since you’re so rugged and adventurous, i thought maybe you’d like to help preserve what’s left of our rotting world by recycling that fucking jug instead of tossing it carelessly in the trash.” but instead, like a coward, i said nothing, and now i hate myself as much as i hate him.

#3. i have been thinking lately that when i’m at my most depressed, i wish i would just die and get the shit over with. conversely, when i’m at my happiest, i wish i would die so as to go out on a high note. i basically think there is never a bad time to hop off of this ride. i mentioned this to riley and he responded that this philosophy should be written in a breezy large print bestseller and promoted by oprah. i thought that was funny.

#4. i went into a lee’s famous chicken and then a tim horton’s yesterday to get junk food for a wedding party. both establishments were filled with the most wretched human vermin: hunchbacked, confused white trash; toothless drunks; mute yet incredibly rude and dismissive ESL students. it occurred to me that perhaps bill and i should go for dinner at lee’s chicken and then wash it down with a double double and some tim bits sometime, and soak in this rich cultural experience that the cowichan valley has to offer.

over and out.

“choose happiness,” said the miserable sod

my grandmother divorced from her husband when she was in her 50’s. she once told me that for years after the divorce, she harbored great bitterness and resentment towards him, that she often imagined what she would say to him if she bumped into him around town, or how she would have handled various events in their marriage if she could only go back in time. she said that eventually, though, she realized that all the negative feelings she kept revisiting never had any impact on him, but they did have a huge impact on her. she realized that she was making herself miserable by continuing to dwell on negative things that she couldn’t change or didn’t intend to follow through with.

once she had this epiphany, she simply stopped giving it any thought. after that, she felt much better.

similarly, a long time ago, my wife jenn said to me, “choose happiness.” i was super annoyed when she first said it because it sounds like something a yoga hipster woman would say, but the more i thought about it, the more i liked it. what “choose happiness” means is, when you are driving home at a respectable 10 km/h over the speed limit and you come up behind some son of a bitch who is putting along just under the speed limit, you have a choice. you can choose to fume and gripe out loud, maybe swerve slightly into the oncoming lane as if to pass the slow driver, perhaps lay on the horn, and get right worked up about this minor inconvenience — or you can realize that you actually aren’t in a big rush for any justifiable reason so you may as well take a deep breath, slow down, and relax.

for whatever reason, we give ourselves a lot of leeway when it comes to embracing anger and frustration. we allow ourselves to stew over tiny, insignificant things and make ourselves miserable. i see people do it all the time. i do it all the time myself (except i usually like to do it). but we have the ability to become more self aware, notice when we repeat negative patterns, and work to break those patterns. i actually frequently think “choose happiness” to myself now as a mantra when i want to snap myself out of yet another loop of rage. i even say it to jenn occasionally, which she absolutely fucking hates.

violent-women

“don’t you EVER use my own pretentious, mystical advice on me!”

i’m writing about this now because i was bothered by something else when i got stuck behind an insanely slow driver. i had to remind myself that the slow driver wasn’t what was actually bothering me, and letting myself get worked up about them would only make me even more unhappy. so i relaxed and slowed down and felt better for it.

it’s nice when this kind of stuff actually works. which is only maybe 50% of the time, but that’s still way better than nothing. i welcome any mitigation of my misery with open arms.

i don’t want anyone to be carefree

the other day i saw a bunch of private school kids walking by. they were all coupled up, holding their partners closely or holding hands, laughing, having a great time. each one was fit, attractive, confident, beaming with youthful exuberance. to be attending this local private school, they each must come from great wealth. it was a warm sunny day and they were all in shorts and flip flops.

they really had it all, they were on top of the world.

i thought, that’s nice, but i wondered when they’re going to start aging and noticing wrinkles, receding hairlines, swelling guts and asses, high blood pressure, diabetes. i wondered when they’re going to lose touch with all these friends and feel alone in this world. i wondered when they will become addicted to prescription pain medications, cheat on their spouse and find out their spouse is cheating on them too, get divorced, marry for a second and third time. become embroiled in hellish workplace scandals and drama. i wondered how many of them will come to eventually hate life, when this perfect sunny daydream will come to an end for them.

i think that fantasizing about the shattering of their worlds is my way of coping with my jealousy of their short-lived yet currently carefree lives. i’m ok with that. you’ve got to grab your laughs wherever you can, i think.

new fracture

i make enough money to do all the things i want to do, like trips and concerts and vacations and owning a house and making investments for when i’m old. so why would i change my career to make more money i don’t need or improve my status while increasing my stress and decreasing my freedom and flexibility to do the fun things i enjoy?

i wouldn’t. sometimes people suggest i should but i’m not sure why they think that. i’ll have to ask one of them next time it comes up. as it stands, i think those people are out of their fucking minds. that would be a twisted set of priorities to give up things i value greatly for something i don’t need or want.

i bet the drive to needlessly make more money at the expense of true happiness is a primary cause and/or symptom of people being truly and deeply fucked up.

i know who i am. i’m proud of that. i hope most other people in the world know themselves too, and can use that knowledge to make choices that make themselves happy.

that’s me, basically.

high expectations

this is a counterpoint to my previous post, which is pretty obvious and doesn’t really need to be said but i feel like saying it anyway.

in contrast to having my low expectations routinely exceeded, i have had a lot of my high expectations severely disappointed. it happened at work the other day. i met a woman who seemed pretty interesting and intelligent. i thought, “wow, neat. a cool person.” we talked for a while, or she talked a lot and i listened. that got old after a while but i figured i was probably more curious about her than she was about me so whatever. then she said a few things that were a little out there, some real hippie dippy bullshit, and i thought “this is going downhill fast.” then she told me that she doesn’t tell many people this but she speaks with the pope’s spiritual advisor on a regular basis.

so she doesn’t tell many people, except for virtual strangers she just met 15 minutes ago? give me a break. she probably tells every cat she owns, multiple times a day, and they care about as much as i do.

needless to say, i didn’t like her much in the end. i thought to myself afterward, “fuck, that was disappointing.” but she really did start strong so i feel like i shouldn’t blame myself for believing she might be cool, but i can’t help it. my sense of failure is overwhelming, even in this minuscule case. i should have been more conservative in my initial appraisal. fuck me and my latent optimism.

[as a side note, i just learned that spelling minuscule ‘miniscule’ is the old world way, and ‘widely regarded as an error,’ according to merriam-webster.com. i’ve been living a lie for all these years.]

back on point. i run into this too often, liking new people more than they deserve, giving films a chance, looking forward to anything at all, etc, and then being bitterly disappointed. so i’m going to make a point to try to be even more cynical and less hopeful than ever before. it’s the only way i will ever attain any sort of consistent happiness.

i feel better than ever!