FYI: I wrote this a few days ago. I didn’t post it at that time. I wanted to post the one about Maple Street and J-Town and give that a few days to marinate first. Happy reading, y’all!
I’ve been wrestling with this idea lately, friends, family and oft times casual readers. Look away if you want to read something mindless ‘cause this little piece of Mental Flatulence will not be. That disclaimer… disclaimed, as a former incarnation of the Mad Chronicler, AKA El Autoro used to say—back when we all lived in and around Oz and no one lived anyplace else—let’s get schazzy.
The idea that I’ve been grappling with is a pretty simple one, folks. Happiness, otherwise known as a mental, emotional and physical state of “chill,” further known as something that, upon closer observation, I haven’t been in a long time. Let me elaborate on that a bit lest a rumor or two about me and what I’m writing about publicly hits my own, subjective universe on this side of the proverbial wormhole of existence. My lack of happiness? It was not a product of my marriage. In that I was complacent and accepting of my role for a very, long time. And I do not regret that. Nor do I regret the 13 years I spent in it, the children it produced, the extended family I inherited et al. This may be hard for a few of you reading this to believe but guess what? I’m glad for it. It was a period in my life with a number of highs, a handful of lows and a dozen or so “meh” moments. Just like every period that came before it. If you compare it to my state of mind from roughly 1995 through mid-2000 it was, despite how it ended up a f*cking extended vacation. For a good amount of the time that I was in it, I was at peace. And that peacefulness shines through in what I wrote over the years, much of which is viewable in the e-pages of this blog.
But was I happy? That’s the question. And it’s a complicated one to answer despite the fact that the concept of happiness, on the whole is a pretty simple one to grasp. In my life, both family, social, social media, physical, yadda yadda yadda (booyakasha, Seinfeld; Respect), I was. I didn’t become truly unhappy with that until the end which is why… well? It ended. Case closed. But deep down inside of me in those places I don’t like to talk about at parties, I don’t think that I was. There was something missing for me and it was for me, not my partner. Feel free to picture me punctuating that statement by gesticulating madly to myself as I’m writing this. ‘Cause in my slightly warped mind, I am.
I’ve always been a dreamer. Always had the ideal of what I wanted out of my life/what would make me happy in my mind. I’ve always retained that vision of the perfect life. It drives me, to this day. The perfect relationship. The perfect career. My house on the beach beside the ocean with my children, my wife and the thunderstorm. Do you remember that one, friends? It goes way, way back. I originally wrote it while I was working at “Roche Diagnostics, how can I help you?” I re-posted the basic idea on here a few entries ago and you can link it HERE if you so desire to read it. Well? I’ve gone through a number of changes over the past almost year. Permutations. I’ve matured and de-matured in different ways. I’m more practical about my obligations and responsibilities but less practical about my emotions. I’ve dropped about 50 pounds to the point that none of my clothes fit me anymore and yet I’m quickly in the process of going all white and grey up top and in my beard. I quit smoking. I started vaping. I gave up sh*t beer like Coors Light and replaced it with slightly less sh*tty beer like Blue Moon. I feel great physically yet I tire earlier and more quickly. I could go on and on but this is not a blog entry about the State of my State at almost 44 years old. This is about happiness. And I’ve come to realize over the last few weeks and months that my age old, vision of happiness was not an option, and never would have been an option in my marriage. Again, not because of her, but because of me. I set too high a standard for us. It was achievable, but only in short, controlled doses and it was not sustainable. We were simply too different. We wanted different things out of our respective lives. And because of that? It ended. No hard feelings. Seriously, y’all: No hard feelings. I wish her happiness and I know she wishes me the same.
But this… realization? It begs the question: Can my perfect vision of happiness be achieved? Or is it simply a fanciful way of imagining my life as I want it to be, and not focusing on my life as it is and could be? Does that make sense? I hope it does to you ‘cause it does to me. It’s reality versus fantasy, guys and gals. Fiction versus Non-Fiction. The ENDWORLD Series versus Random Musings Version 2.0. THAT’S the crux of what I’ve been struggling with these past few weeks. Because my life has been… upgraded, you could say, and all of a sudden, that question of happiness has returned. I’m once again seeing that scene upon the beach that El Autoro originally came up with a couple of decades ago and wondering if it’s attainable, or nothing more than wishful thinking. I’m also wondering where that beach is but that’s another story… another pondering for another time. Today, I’m here about happiness. And whether or not you can achieve your ideal version of it.
A simple question that carries a relatively simply answer, at least for me. And that answer is YES. You can. Whether you get there or not remains a question but the process of going after it? Striving for it? You can do that, and while there may be as much probability as lightning, striking me right here where I sit writing this right now as actually having that exact scene from my alter ego El Autoro’s vision play out in the really, really real world, you can try. Getting there on your own, though, is a monumental task but when you have two, three, four… however many people rowing in that same, general direction the probability of it actually happening as you wrote it up “back in the day” becomes more and more… probable. Favorable. But it can’t be a blind search. You can’t be, all of you rowing in the fog, hoping blindly for some clarity or direction. The weather needs to be favorable. The goal needs to be consistent across the minds of everyone, assembled in said boat. The conditions need to be perfect. But it’s doable, y’all. I truly believe that.
Yet here’s the thing: You can’t get down on yourself or despair whilst you’re trying to get there. So you need to… temper your ideal a bit for the NOW, not the ONE DAY TO BE, i.e. the future. So am I happy? I think that I am. It’s not that perfect version of happiness that I’ve been writing about in this little, piece of Mental Flatulence but it is A version of it. I still have anxiety. Concerns. Bills to pay, children who need food as Billy Joel so aptly sang in “Downeaster Alexa.” But as tempered ideas of happiness are concerned, it’s a pretty good one. I haven’t lost sight of my beach and what has yet to transpire upon it. I may be no closer to it than I was a year ago. But I’m… Content. I think that’s the word I’m looking for. There’s a bit of peace inside of me for the first time in a while and while I know I have a ways to go… while I know that there’s a lot of water left between where I’m rowing currently and where I’m going, it feels a bit closer for the first time in a while. Another way of putting it is that I think I’m back on the path. MINE. The one I lost sight of sometime ago. Instead of diverging (sorry Robert Frost), recently? A couple of roads did the opposite and converged, not in a yellow but in a green, lush wood and though it still may be the road less traveled? It’s surprisingly familiar and that, in and of itself is enough to make me grateful. So thank you for that. End slightly vague but likely transparent to certain folks reading this rant.
I know this isn’t a typical blog entry friends, family and oft times casual readers. I think this is how I cope with the desire to write a poem for the first time in a couple of decades but the incapacity to rhyme, or find the appropriate words to express myself. Maybe that’s just rust. Or maybe… just maybe it’s the fact that much of what I wrote back in those wayward, dark and twisty days of 1995 though mid-2000 was just that: Dark. Twisty. I had another name back then, in addition to Frank Marsh, Mad Chronicler and El Autoro. It was a name I gave myself. I was the Lunatic Lover and I lived by the credo, “chaos is a friend of mine.” Booyakasha, Ozzy; Respect. As those wayward days of my late youth/early adulthood passed into memory after that, so did my poetry. Happiness of a sort… peace took over my life and there was no need for that guy anymore. I think the greatest testament to how I’m feeling presently is the fact that the Lunatic Lover has remained silent in my mind (we’re all mad here, folks!). That speaks volumes to me. Perhaps it does to you, as well. There still may be a poem or two in this but it won’t be something steeped in sadness. It’ll be something hopeful. Optimistic. And I promise I’ll share it when and if I write it. You can decide for yourself if you want to read it. I’m cool with it, and you either way.
That said? I think I’m done. Disclaimer disclaimed and mischief managed. I’d like to thank all of my alter egos for continuing to get schazzy with me on this weird a** ride called “life.” I’d also like to thank Seinfeld, Roche Diagnostics and the entire Accu-Chek line of blood glucose testing supplies for saving a ton of lives and keeping me employed during my dark and twisty phase. Further thanks to Billy Joel, his daughter Alexa, Ozzy Ozbourne, chaos in general, Robert Frost and anyone that’s helping me row the proverbial boat right now. I know we’ve still got a ways to go but see that? Yep. That’s a seagull. And that purple lump in the distance that you can see every time a swell passes? Yep. That’s our destination. So don’t give up. Keep going. It’s closer now than it was a year ago.
We’ve got this.