I’ve taken a lot of trips around the sun on this crazy blue rock, and I like to think I’ve picked up some wisdom along the way. While I don’t have all the answers—heck, who does?—I do know that happiness in life doesn’t come from your job, or where you live, or what kind of car you drive. When you’re a complete and utter failure of a human being like me, you learn that it’s the little things in life that actually matter.
The sound of rain, the warmth of sunlight on my face, the crisp feel of the morning paper in my hands—these are all things I’ve come to truly cherish because I’ve achieved absolutely nothing of real significance that could bring me any joy.
It’s a total cliché, I know. But when you reach a certain age, and success in any form continues to elude you, you start to realize that some of those clichés are true. Most of the time, we move too fast to even notice the special little moments that surround us at all times, from the simple pleasures of gazing up at a starry sky to the scent of freshly cut grass, but when you literally have no job or loved one to return to, you begin to realize just how wonderful these things are.
So, now I make sure to stop and smell those roses whenever I can and enjoy them for what they are: a momentary distraction from the suffocating reality that literally all of my dreams have gone unrealized.
Sometimes people get so hung up on things like holding down employment for more than six months at a time that the smaller joys in life just pass them by. I used to be one of those people! But now I cherish those day-to-day pleasures, like that first sip of coffee in the morning, or a steaming hot shower—those little things that lift your spirit because every aspect of your professional and personal lives has amounted to exactly nothing even after all these years.
Take it from someone who’s never finished anything he’s started: It’s the journey that counts, not the destination.
Being able to find those small sources of pleasure in everyday life isn’t something that just happens overnight. It took a keen eye, an open mind, and decades’ worth of failures—the same, predictable failures, over and over and over again—before I was able to learn to think like this. But it was so worth it. I refuse to wake up one day in the future and realize that my life has passed me by, and that I never once took the time to distract myself from its unending string of humiliations by spending more time outdoors on beautiful days, reading the great works of literature I’d always wanted to, or sending a handwritten letter.
There’s beauty all around you if you stop to notice it. In the song of a bird, or the leaves of a tree, or the laughter of a child at the park who you can pretend is yours until the fantasy becomes too sad even for you. These are the things that can bring you joy every day, because attempting to look literally anywhere else in your life for pleasure would not only be entirely fruitless, but would indeed lead you to spiral into a paralyzing state of shame, depression, and bitterness at an existence that could only reasonably be deemed a total waste.
Anyway, I’m heading out for a relaxing stroll through the park. If you want to say hello, I’ll be the utter disappointment with the big smile on his face.