10/4/13

Happiness is the Enemy? . . .

I went and saw the movie "RUSH" last night. I won't go too deep on reviewing the film (not the point of this here post) but it was good - better than I expected (and I thought, based on reviews I'd read, that it was going to be pretty good to begin with). But if you'll indulge me . . . I want to talk about happiness.

Here's what you need to know for context . . . the two main characters are diametrically opposed souls who share only one thing . . . chips on their shoulders. It should be obvious but I'll clarify here (as I did for my friend in the next chair over) I was cheering for the sullen, obsessive, singularly-focused Niki Lauda (don't click on the link if you want to go see the movie without spoilers) the entire movie. Why? I related way, way more to him and fat, balding men never, ever, ever cheer for pretty boys especially pretty boys with full, flowing hair, and Ken-doll muscles. I digress.

There is a moment in the movie where Niki Lauda realizes that life has to about more than just driving and that moment comes in the Italian countryside with a beautiful woman in his passenger seat (as all great moments of revelation do, for the record). After a long and awkward courtship and an even more odd wedding scene ("If I'm going to do this, I guess I'd like to do it with you" (or something like that) are Lauda's last words before the ceremony) the couple goes to Ibiza, Spain and skinny dip on their honeymoon (as all uptight characters finally letting go do, for the record) and then after some presumably fantastic dry land, married person (as all great sex is, for the record) sex the wife awakes to find Niki staring out the window and he says this . . .

"Happiness is the enemy." He's worried that his driving and his winning dominance will suffer because he has allowed love and skinny dipping and sex with beautiful women in to his life (and for the record this is when all great downfalls start) and he's willing to tell his brand new bride as much.

She composes herself and simply utters "If you say that, you've already lost" and then she coolly slinks back up the stairs leaving the pondering Lauda to his own devices. So alllllll that established here is the point . . . is happiness the enemy or is giving up on the notion of happiness the enemy?

I'm a curmudgeon. I'm a cynic. I'm a misanthrope. I'm an obsessive compulsive who only allows room in my mind, heart, actions, and deeds for a handful of things at any given time (hint - if you aren't my daughter or my job you're way, way down the percentage of focus pile, sadly) but the GOOD news is that even in my relatively shallow world where I carefully curate people and pursuits I can honestly say that I don't think happiness is the enemy (forget that I think happiness is a false prophet in a world where we should pursue contentment), I think either insisting on it or refusing it is the enemy.

Life is hard. Life changes. Happiness is elusive. It twists and turns.

More importantly - people (including you) change. Hearts and temperatures change. You have to allow that your happiness of today might not always be your happiness. If that were the case we'd all still play with Pokemon cards and drink TAB soda pop while wearing mood rings and poodle skirts (to chose but a few American fads we've let go off with time).

If you ever "loved" something - if you ever found "happiness" in it - you always technically will but it might not be the right happiness or enough happiness over time.

FIND contentment, SEEK happiness. Don't ever give up on the notion of either - if you do, you've already lost. And never dismiss your new spouse as a liability to your success.