How to be Happy.

Everyone wants to be happy, and to live a happy life. It’s somewhat of a sweeping generalisation, I know…but one which pretty much holds true across the board.

I mean unless you’re a homicidal maniac who enjoys other people’s pain and suffering – or a gym enthusiast vegan who enjoys the masochistic pleasure of seemingly making yourself suffer. In those cases I can’t relate at all – but those folks would probably tell you (as you strap them into a straight-jacket) that they derive pleasure from those senseless acts, and consequently are happy, or at least are making a distinct effort to attain happiness…however bizarre it may appear to us regular humanoids.

Happy, Happy GIF

So basically, I’m still right…sort of.

And while you may be less inclined to trust in a no-good bum writer like myself, you’ll probably hold more hope in my old pal, Socrates – despite the fact he didn’t ever come up with any clear-cut suggestions as to how to actually be happy. But whatever…

John are you seriously saying you’re better than Socrates? Your ego is completely off the charts, good sir.”

Well, no – I’m just pointing out that I have a bit of a method to happiness that seems to work for me – and all he ever did was ponder, and deal in vague outlines about self-examination and virtues as with most philosophers of his time. 

Hmm, he’s widely considered to have played a fundamental part in the growth of Western thinking…are you sure you’re not just jealous of his luscious beard? Because you can’t grow a proper one?”

Unfair, and mean – next question.

John you’re writing this yourself. Just stop if you’re going to be a baby about it – you’re coming across as a lunatic as it is. Also, we’re out of milk – get some next time you’re out please.”

You Talkin To Me GIF

Ahem, sorry about that. But I mean yeah, he was a smart bloke and all – so I’m not saying I wouldn’t have invited him to the pub every once in a while; he believed in the study of reason, the search of truth, and the admittance of our own ignorance, which all sounds dandy. But he had no ready answers, which I’m sure would get frustrating after the seventh or eighth pint. In fact I could imagine waiting for him to use the gents, and then darting out to another pub to find some more digestible truth there; probably revolving around sports, and a drunken take on world events. After all it’s usually the simple things, you know? And he sure did make it very hard work for people…

But the thing is happiness doesn’t have to be a cloudy pie in the sky sort of deal…in fact I think your pie should be right here, right now – with as many toppings and sauces as you please, and with no guilt over eating the last slice, ever. (Is this still just a metaphor? Way too into it!) 

Admittedly Socrates said something similar to this, when he stated we should actively pursue happiness through our actions and that it is in this exploration that we will expand our consciousness and become happier in the process…

Cool Cool Cool Cool GIF

….but as usual the most important element (the ‘how?!’) was neglected…perhaps he kept it in his beard, and only showed his closest friends…the selfish creature. But as I don’t have a beard, I will share my little pearl of wisdom in the hope that it can boost your overall happiness levels. It won’t quite have you doing a moonwalk on a rainbow (unless you mix my guidance with LSD – which you are welcome to try if you are over the age of eleven) but it should provide less misery, and a greater feeling of contentedness. 

So this is it, and it isn’t much really: 

But each and every year I try and better the last one…I try to put more into my passions, and more effort into my writing. I try to say “yes” to more opportunities, to take more trips, and to experience a wider range of what this wonderful earth has to offer. I try to keep in touch with family and old friends with more regularity, and try to tell those I love that I love them more often. Basically I try to be a better version of myself from top to bottom with every passing year…the keyword being “try”. 

Sometimes it doesn’t work out – sometimes life serves you up a poop sandwich, with an extra side of poop fries (instead of that delicious pie in the sky), but when it does you have to keep going… and keep trying. It’s as simple as that. Personally I’ve had a very difficult year so far for numerous reasons…but it has taken till now to shake myself free and remember that I need to keep up that pursuit of happiness (cheers Socrates, mate) – the future, and my subsequent happiness is in my own hands. 

Happy Hands GIF

So as you read this I am planning four different 2015 trips in four different countries…one which is a Christmas visit home (WOOOO!), I’m also editing down a new comedy video, and finally working on my dark humour novel again. I just need to send a nice email to my parents, and I’m golden!

But yeah, that’s it folks. Find the things that matter to you, the things that make you feel that warm fuzzy Teletubbies belly feeling, and then make steps to do them as often as possible. Happiness will follow. 

Whatever you do, don’t just accept misery…you deserve happiness, just the same as everyone. 

www.facebook.com/storytimewithjohn

www.youtube.com/storytimewithjohn101

Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

What’s the Point? (Existential Crisis)

Life. We slave away at jobs we don’t care about, or chase dreams that only ourselves can ever truly be invested in…and for what? I mean it doesn’t really matter, any of it – apart from for selfish reasons which in their very essence are dumb and somewhat childlike; they’re all – “I WANT THIS…I WANT TO BE THIS…I WANT TO GO HERE” as we kick our feet, and throw our metaphorical toys out of the pram hoping God, fate, or the universe will cut us a break.

Begging GIF

Okay, but gimme a nice house and a few human beings who think I’m great…

But the fact is I could get ran over by a bus tomorrow – POOF! Gone. Well…not really ‘POOF’ it’s not a magic trick…there would be a lot more moaning, screaming, and guts as opposed to wizardy and showmanship, but still; there would be a brief moment and then I would be no more. People would be all sad for a bit, and then life would roll on. And in the larger scheme of the universe nothing would have happened at all! You see let’s be honest, the Moon would look the other way, the sun wouldn’t care, and Pluto wouldn’t even hear about it! The self-serving bastards…urgh…

So what’s the answer to this depressing situation? Well I’ve googled it and there isn’t a real one, so apologies in advance. Instead all we can do is black it all out with drink, drugs, and/or knitting…well actually just whatever activity it takes to provide an internal padded room that dampens the “YOUR LIFE DOES NOT MATTER AT ALL” screams that can be heard with every waking second of your existence…

Peanut Butter GIF

Actually I’ve looked for peanut butter in Korea and couldn’t find it…so there’s yet another reason to wallow in self-pity.

Anyway, I’m just joshing…sort of. Well not really, all I have said so far is sadly true – but the miserable tone is not, as there is a lot to live for. Yourself for one, and for the ones who love you, and the others who you haven’t even met yet. You can enrich each other’s pathetically bleak window of existence and make the whole horrid thing that little bit easier to bear! Great right? Don’t you just feel like moon-walking on a rainbow right now?!

Sigh. Well, maybe not, but I’m not going to let a little negativity (well, a black hole of depression if I was being honest) stop me…despite the fact I know it’s vain, utterly pointless, and that Pluto doesn’t give a shit I am going to still have my own dreams, and spend each day working towards achieving them. If for no other reason than to retain a shred of sanity at the enormity of it all…

SO TAKE THAT PLUTO! I DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOU EITHER! 

(Unless you grant wishes, in which case I take it all back and let’s meet for coffee sometime soon?)

www.facebook.com/storytimewithjohn

www.youtube.com/storytimewithjohn101

Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!

Existential Spices

As humans I think it’s pretty normal to ponder our own existence…although I often like to believe I am one of the elite few who is really thinking about it, that everyone else is just passing through, experiencing things at face value – and that basically I am some sort of superior brain amongst a mass of morons. This is solely a luxury for my ego, and in truth is probably only half true…

See Clearly GIF

Arghhh fine, but keep it to yourself sister!

Anyway, what’s the meaning of life? Why are we here? What are we doing? You know, all of those “what’s the fucking point of it all?!” existential crisis type questions – are ones that plague our waking days, and pester our subconscious even when sleeping, because at the heart of things we know we’re just highly intelligent (hmm, sometimes) beasts, and the real innate purpose is just that of a really dreadful commander of an alien legion – “THE RACE HAS TO CONTINUE, WE MUST PROCREATE AND CONTINUE THE BLOODLINE! THE RACE MUST GO ON!” 

So when this rather carnal impulse meets our meddlesome overactive mind we become part of an ongoing battle for self-actualization and understanding…one which basically can never be won in the traditional “yeyyyy, I got a shiny medal and certificate!” kind of way…perhaps that’s why it feels so uncomfortable…we just have to pick a side, and stick with it…that’s literally it.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?!

Well, perhaps you head to religion for your purpose? And you essentially believe this is a humongous audition/amazingly well-orchestrated dress rehearsal for the spectacular afterlife? Where you get to hang out with all of your best friends, and family members (presumably you get to pick which ones make the grade), and spend your days eating whatever you like and never gaining unwanted weight. All the while being able to pick the brains of the most clued-in individual ever to exist; the creator man himself, God!

Sounds bloody perfect! So if that’s your belief and reason for living…then yeah, good for you! I can dig it!

Lebowski GIF

Praise him with the boogie!

Or do you venture into the romantic side of things…the spirituality of love for love’s sake? You know…the life is about being happy, and making others happy sort of thing. With this seems to come an acceptance that life is a horrifyingly complex and confusing state of being – and that one should basically just make the best of it. Because yeah, why not? After all why lose sleep over the complicated nature of the day to day when you can observe such fantastical beauty in your world; from the love of those who are dear to you, the laughter of children, and the possibility to add extra cheesy bacon bits to items of your choosing and much more! There is indisputably a lot to live for, and eventually die f…shhhhh no, let’s not mention that bit…no, no…

Then there’s the idea about immortality…why work out what it is to live, when I can never die?! Now, I’m not so much talking about actually living forever…although that would be great, and if anyone has a secret potion they’ve been working on I’d be a willing patient! But no…I am speaking of self-expression, creating a legacy that will succeed you long after your death. This may be through art, scientific discovery, politics, business…whatever really. Basically anything that inflates your ego and makes you feel a little less like a minute speck of nothingness in a vast and uncaring universe…bleak I know. But it is, what it is…

Depp Sad GIF

Not a happy camper.

Yeah…and I guess the last option is to just check out altogether…but if you do that you are missing out on the potential joy and ecstasy that life can bring…as well as the harrowing lows which despite being awful, can in turn provide a deeper perspective and understanding of what it is to be alive, and what it is to be human…

I suppose, all we can do is look for ways to flavour and make the most of our life right nowafter all they say “variety is the spice of life”, and I believe it. You should seek out new passions, new friendships, new adventures, and new meaning…expand your mind, and open your heart. But errr…make sure you take it with pinch of salt, as none of us get out alive after all…* 

Shrugs GIF

~~~

Unless you have that immortality potion thing*, in which case EMAIL ME. Cheers in advance Dr. Controverso! 

www.facebook.com/storytimewithjohn

www.youtube.com/storytimewithjohn101

Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!