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Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Joy of Life

I haven't admitted this to many people, but I have become a pusher.  That's right, I dispence artifical joy.  What's worse is I enjoy doing it, I have for years.  I don't really feel guily about it, I know that my pushing makes people happy.  They get addicted, they want more, they want to get that feeling again and again.  It doesn't hurt anyone, or at least it hasn't so far.  They tell me they want to go higher and higher, but I have my limits.  I always try and keep things safe.  Most of my experience pushing has been with young girls, but I don't discriminate.  I'm not sexist, it's just where the opportunities lie.  I have pushed for young boys as well, just not often.  Also, I will continue to do so as long as I can.  As long as they let me, I'll keep pushing just to hear the giggles and laughter as the rush takes over, and for a moment they feel as free as if they are flying.  I know one day Madelyn won't need me anymore to push, but for the time being it's my job, and I love it.

The seedy underbelly of the playgound

I might be wrong, but I think that's what everyone wants isn't it?  I mean, maybe not the kind of joy that I dispense at the swing set, but some sort of rush, some sort of joy, some sort of escape from the everyday mundane existence.  It's the thrill that brings us joy.  Maybe it is the rush of adrenaline from floating in the air in the playground.  Maybe the sense of self worth that washes over you when you accomplish something hard.  Maybe it's the explosion of sensation that washes over you when you try a new or favourite food.  All addictions seem to be related to a rush of joy, if only momentarily.

I personally sold my soul to the devil to learn how to do
the cube.  Just so I could impress people into thinking I'm smart.
I fooled them all!
One of the bigger joys we have in our society is stuff.  Owning bigger and better things.  Cool cars.  Big TV's.  Suckier vacuums.  Beautiful shoes.  The latest movies and video games.  Collections of almost anything you can imagine drives people forward in life.  All for stuff.  People would give anything for that rush that aquiring better stuff gives you.  Anything...  Most people dedicate their entire lives from school age to retirement working towards or a career which encompasses over 1/3 of every day of their lives, just to have money to get more stuff to bring them joy. 

You might say to me that you don't.  You might tell me that you work to provide sustainance for your family, and help them to survive, and live comfortably, and that is commendable for sure.  I know I get a sense of self satisfaction and joy knowing that my kids aren't going to starve, and that my eldest daughter can go to prom.  Irregardless of the nobility of my motives, I'm am still brought joy by doing it.  I am still giving up my life for joy.

Almost as much joy I get from pissing off the grammar nazis
by saying 'irregardless'.
Still, how much do we have to give up for joy?  Does stuff make you happy?  I hear people say no to this question.  Stuff if anything makes you unhappy.  The thrill of getting it, and initially enjoying gives you a momentary rush, but it only lasts for so long, and then it's on to the next thing.  It's the same with Madelyn and her swing.  Today she's happy to be pushed, and go higher and faster, but eventually that won't be enough.  Eventually, it'll be taller slides, and hanging upside down on monkey bars.  Merri-go-rounds.  Rollercoasters.  Skydiving.  All for the thrill of the adrenaline rush.    All to find the joy in life.  Even those that sacrifice themselves for others to get that smug satisfying feeling of knowing that they've good.  It's satisfying because although you are giving of yourself, you get joy out of it.

Cheesy nostalgic joy for Gen X
I don't begrudge anyone their joy by the way.  I feel that as long as you aren't hurting others the pursuit of your joy is paramount to your existence on the planet.  I don't want to come across as a superficial asshole telling you to give up all your worldly goods and live in peace and harmony not shackled down by society's desire to fit in by needing more things.  If base diving off of cliffs makes you happy, by all means do it.  You should be able to live your life anyway you choose as far as I'm concerned as long as the joy you derive doesn't come at the expense of someone who is not willing.  (Go ahead and drink 20 beers, smoke 5 joints, and eat a deep fried Mars bar if you want, just don't skip your daughter's play and make her cry.)

I, for one, find joy in solving puzzles, baiting grammar nazis, Ren and Stimpy, and of course pushing my daughter on the swing.  I also find joy in being with my friends, writing, playing video games, and the smug satisfaction in knowing that I'm a good dad.  I'm OK with this.  I find joy in the sun, and in nature, and I like technology, and the cool new toys.  I get a rush from making people laugh, being sarcastic, ironic, stupidly weird, and akwardly rebelious.  I really do think that if I gave up all my 'stuff' that I could find joy just in being.  I couldn't give up my family and friends however, I'm way too addicted to that joy in my life.

Another f***'n uplifting message.
The key I think is not to find your happiness in things or in others, it is to find happiness in yourself.  Whatever that thing is that turns you on.  Whatever give you that rush, it needs to be within you. 

If you are happy being miserable, than be miserable. There is joy hidden in sadness if you want it.

If you can only see the bright side of everything, relish in it.  Just don't expect everyone to see your point of view.

And, if you choose not to find your joy, that is your right as well.  No one can ever tell you what to do it you don't want to do it.  (It's just sometime the consequences suck.)

Personally, I'm going to continue being a pusher.  It just brings joy to life.