The Myth of a Happy Existence

If you look at photos through the decades, you will notice one dramatic change (aside from the quality). This is that of facial expression. For some reason, our facial expressions have been turning U shaped at an alarming rate. Hell, for all we know, soon we will all look like Cher.

Why then is it that we appear to becoming more “happy” in photos, when we have alarming depression and suicide rates. I am not sure of the answer to this, however, I do know that our conventional appearance is not reflecting the bigger picture.

A lot of the population that resides in first world countries are on prescribed anti-depressant medication. I will however refrain from going into my views on anti-depressant medication. Perhaps, as suggested by many scholars (a simple google search will be a sufficient reference) that most of the people on this prescribed form medication need not be on it at all… perhaps we are all simply feeling normal human emotions that have become pathologised.

Back to the smiles. I can see an undeniable pressure to be happy, its everywhere, we have been marketed happiness in every corner of every street. From the milkman to zanax, happiness is all around us. The only thing is, its a face, an act, a point of selling. To make it even more dramatic, this everywhere that we are now seeing is not restricted to the external world, but it exists in the world of social media, we are literally being imprinted with ideals of happiness every minute of every day.

Think about something simple, what we see, is what is considered normal. A simple analogy would be homosexuality, over the decades it is becoming “normalised” as such, purely because we are exposed to it more frequently, the human population feels less discomfort upon witnessing it.

Equation time: Object x Exposure = Increased normality.

Now relate this to the situation at hand,

The object is happiness, with increased exposure, leading to extreme normality. The opposite of normality, is abnormality and discomfort. Perhaps we are literally making simple human-wired feelings of melancholy become abnormal, perhaps we are completely pathologising intrinsic feelings.

 

 

 

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The Myth of a Happy Existence

What I learnt from a gap in University

Throughout my University years, two and a half to be exact, I learnt less about life than I have in the past 5 months of absence from my studies.

I feel like a giant reality slap has occurred. Pulled from an educated and guided void that I seemed to be living in, strangely a void of which harboured me from age 5 till 20.

Studying Psychology, I am naturally a thinker. Everything to me has a giant thought process behind it and I can’t change that, it’s who I am. When I was enduring the two and a half years at University, time seemed to simply pass, I would study, pass assignments, study, pass exams, work, go on a vacation and repeat. A life that is normal for the atypical University student. Living at home allowed me to have the luxury of buying nice things and going on holidays in the break, which I wouldn’t change for the world. Some are more sensible and prefer to have life savings behind their belt, I on the other hand am a bit more for the life experience route. Which is also fine, its me at this stage of my life.

The thing is, I constantly thought throughout University what it would be like to live in the working world, the “real world”. Every year I pondered taking a different route, hearing of people who succeed without having to work up debt. I am a dreamer, always have been, and yes I am aware my reality is often spent dreaming of an alternate reality. Going straight to University did no good for my nature as a dreamer.

Rather, it threw me into a false void of security. For the atypical University student, you rarely talk about salaries, rarely overthink whether what you are studying is for an actual job that you want, rarely talk to lecturers, because why do these things. Well, now I see why these things are so important. University straight after school is a money maker. University institutions make a sh** load of money out of privileged individuals who go straight to University after school, why? Because these people are human. There minds will change and their ideal pathway WILL change. Meaning more studies and essentially more money.

University used to be a privilage for those who were intellectually and financially gifted enough to continue learning after school. Now, it appears more of a means to prolong entering reality. I don’t know if this is a good thing or not.

In a first world country filled with options, less concerned with financial outcome, more concerned with image and social approval, it seems we are all rather lost as to what options to take. The thing is, society appears to be progressing to a point where happiness is the ideal. Therefore many of us now spend our 20s searching for this job that will fulfil our daily satisfaction, as apposed to saving for a home or a family. We know these things did’t make our last generation happy, so what do we do in this generation?

Is this search good? I have no idea. What I do know is that once you enter the world from University, whether it be before studies, during, or after, your perspective will change dramatically. I would never change the path I have chose, in no way was I ready to enter life upon completion of School, I was unmotivated, scared and had a lot of learning to do.

I think everyone should be exposed to what I learnt from a cleaner at my London workplace. University is an institution, it cost money and makes money, and most importantly of all, it is a hell of a privilege that provides opportunities to learn, grow, and essentially survive in this over populated world. If you don’t know this. You shouldn’t be there.

 

 

 

What I learnt from a gap in University

Standing, waiting, thinking.

Mind is masked with the sight of a deep dark blue sea.

I am at the bottom.

Cannot breathe.

Cannot swim to the top.

Fish of all sizes swim past my eyes.

My eyes sink into the back of my head, they blaze red.

I blink.

Still, I am in the deep blue depths.

I blink.

Can’t move, vision is my only freedom.

I finally see it, I am in no sea.

I am standing with my feet together, balancing on moldy carpet.

The once white walls are thick laden with dirt.

Smell, sight, movement, all regaining.

Too much freedom, so intoxicating.

I freeze, from fear.

I blink. Regain strength.

And inject.

Sea again, a beautiful, trapped, sea.

Why we don’t stick at things.

Yes I am talking to you lot that don’t stick at one thing, you people that change your mind. You human beings who can’t just knuckle down and become ‘successful’, because, well, we all know success comes from commitment and success. Right?

The reason you don’t just commit to this one hobby and thing that will gain you mass success in life? You’re human, perhaps even beyond human because you realise that life has so many exciting streets and why chose just one street when you can have a town of experience .

Your mind changes and that’s fine.

There is a lot of stigma in life to become one thing, determination is the pathway to succeed in an avenue that is special to you. Right?.

Me, I tend to get hooked on one thing and then fail at it a little while along. I’m not sure why exactly, perhaps I just don’t like commitment, perhaps i’m searching for that all purposeful life enhancing mission to drop from the sky.

Either way it doesn’t matter.

Your pathway is not determined by the thoughts of other people, their opinion, societies opinion, even a crickets opinion of success should not determine where your mind is taking you and the pathway that your brain is leading you on.

Sure, motivation is healthy and a balance of motivation and persistence is a requirement to survive. However, you should never let that stop you trying different things throughout your life and testing new waters.

It’s better to be a Jack of All Trades than a master of… one…

Why we don’t stick at things.

Observe 

Serenity, pure bliss. I sit on a warm ledge, heated by the suns delightful rays. It beams down with complete certainty, engulfing me in the process, making the life around me so clear, so clean. A women just walked up to me, I sat with my head directed down and my mind on the sound of my music, she attempted to gain my attention as she reached over my shoulder to retrieve a useless leaf. Her black curly hair rests underneath a Santa hat, an object which defines her place in society as a rebellion, someone who swoops in disregarding the formality put in place by those above. “It’s not fucking christmas” says the man seated across the shrubs, directing his words at me with a sly smile that creates creases in the crevasses of his wilting face. I do not respond, nor give my approval at his remark, all I do is simply place my head back down towards my phone, a place where it belongs in today’s society. I conform. I do not create the boundaries, i abide by them. But is abiding by the unspoken laws as bad as the men who make them, those who sit on high chairs beneath large paintings which represent beauty and struggle that they will never endure. Am I as bad as they who scorn, to sit here with nice clothes and a pivoted head, shoulders slouched so the world can not enter my senses. Once the world enters the senses we become victims to the pain inflicted by others, pain that despite all effort is harder to remove than gum on a dirty street. There are others, though they do not speak. For the others are not of worth, they lurk in the shadows creating formidable shame to the men up high.

Observe