Tag Archives: friends

On Happiness

Happy.  It’s a word with which I’ve never been comfortable, and yet I think about it a lot.  The thing is, for a word we use so indescribably often, I’m not sure I even really know what it means.  Is happiness the absence of sadness?  Surely there’s always something to be sad about, isn’t there?  Is happiness what happens when everything is finally right?  Because nothing is ever completely right, just as it’s never all completely wrong (though that’s harder to see sometimes).

I recently finished the comic book edition of Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness.  He claims happiness is what all us humans are after at the end of the day.  I like his story: Bright, driven kid finds a new way of doing things, stepping a bit more lightly upon the underdog and making a crapload of spondoolies in the process. But I’m not sure I agree with the premise of the book, that all anyone really wants is to be happy.  Because if happiness is the absence of sadness, or that moment when everything is right, the fact is it simply doesn’t exist.  And if all anyone ever wanted was to be happy, and the truth was that happiness didn’t even exist, we’d all be going stark raving mad, “waiting for Godot,” as it were.


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On Friendship. Or, You missed me!

There’s this saying in English that goes something like, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.”  Chris never particularly liked it – he’s always like, “Look, here’s the cake, and I’m eating it, so I’ve had it and I’m eating it!” and I’m like, “But you don’t have it anymore…” and he’s like, “But I had it,” and I’m like, “Yeah – you don’t get this expression, do you?”

I, on the other hand, have always really clung to it as one of the few really and truly grown-up things I get.  I don’t, for the record, stand by or even too closely to such classics as, “That’s just the way things are,” or, “Life isn’t fair.”  Those are dumb.  But the cake thing I get.

So it goes:  living abroad has its many wonderful qualities, but there are lots of things one loses in the decision.  I do love the oomph it gives to living: learning new customs, hearing a different language, learning that language, learning that the customs make a lot more sense when one has the language, etc.  There’s also the different food, architecture, weather, currency, music, and just general way of going about life.  And while it can be a bit tiresome after a while, I’m so unaccustomed to the norms of my place of origin by now (it’s been a few years, after all), I think I’ve become more accustomed to the not-knowing.  On the other hand, particularly in my late-early thirties, particularly in a place where my native language is not widely spoken, making new friends has become a right pain in the arse.  So much so, I haven’t really done it for a number of years.

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