I just Google searched "how to be happy." The first and only page I opened gave "tips," but they were all common sense suggestions that just made me glare at the screen. Stay close to your family? Okay, yeah. Don't let yourself get too stressed? Oh sure, I'll just stop that. After reading it all and feeling just as irritated, I thought to myself, "What was I expecting?" After some pondering, I figured out what it was I was looking for: instant gratification - something to make me happy NOW.
Lately, I've grown tired of effort, tired of patience, tired of waiting. People always say, "It will get better; just give it some time." I'm a strong believer in that, but time seems to last forever when unhappiness takes over. This isn't to say that sadness is all I feel or that happiness isn't possible for me, but it's not rare for me to sit around and brainstorm ways to fix everything. I just never know what the proper solutions are.
I understand now what I never did while growing up. Drugs, random sex, binge drinking, fast driving, reckless behavior. I'm not saying I engage in these things, but I can see the appeal in them. They're giant flashy, blinking, neon signs that yell at you, "LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT WHAT YOU CAN BE DOING INSTEAD OF BEING BORED AND MISERABLE." They're temporary fixes that take you away from what you're really feeling; they steal the substance of it all for a few moments so you can just forget it all. They trick you into thinking you honestly just don't give a fuck as long as you feel something, anything, other than the sadness, the emptiness, the constant discontent emotions that seem to encompass your everyday life. How long can these things last, though? How long can you fool yourself into thinking you're just a "free spirit" instead of trying to mask what's really going on inside?
It seems easy enough to pick up the bottle when you're upset. It'll loosen you up a little bit and take you away from the demons inside your head. That doesn't make them go away, though. It doesn't solve anything. Speeding on the road isn't real progression; you might be going far distance wise, but you're not getting any closer to fixing any real problems. All the things I previously mentioned might help in the moment - might even seem worth it at the time, and like flying free is what you really want. And maybe it is. For some people, maybe those things are the key to their happiness. I just don't believe in my gut that that could be true. I think people can drink to have fun, but once the liquid fun and the pretty little pills become a familiar friend that seem to pop up "just to ease the pain" after a rough day, it's a substitute for a real solution. You can't fix a car with scotch tape, you know?
So what is the "real" solution? I honestly have no idea. I feel that it's real, though. Problems of any size can be fixed. Google searching can't be the saving grace, and neither can all the dark temptations. Time might be the answer, but happiness isn't going to arrive gift-wrapped on the doorstep. It has to be worked for. It's possible, and we all have potential to reach it. We might just have to try with everything we have, never letting go of hope. Effort, time, and patience will be worth it, but remember to have fun along the way.