They say that life is short. They say that you should work hard and love harder. They say that for every action there is a reaction. They also say you should never mix work with pleasure. They tell you a lot of things, and most of the time they are right.
But they never tell you how to get there, to that point where you achieve complete satisfaction. We all seemingly search for that state of mind, the kind where everything feels right and we don’t have a care in the world.
The problem is that the human mind is rarely ever capable of complete satisfaction. Certainly we encounter moments of sheer bliss and happiness, but nothing that ever lasts beyond the point of the next text message or Facebook notification.
I was watching The Girl on the Train while flying coach on Delta, my knees so scrunched together that I thought any turbulence would result in my jaw getting popped. The characters in this film arguably had it all: palatial homes, comfy jobs, and model-esque lovers. Without spoiling the piece, for as much as each individual superficially had, their actions suggested problems much deeper than an unbalanced spread sheet or marital infidelity. These characters simply weren’t satisfied.
We’re all guilty of it, myself included. I suppose that is why we go to college, constantly try to make more money, or scroll through Tinder to find someone conventionally viewed as “hotter,” because the way things are is never quite good enough.
How then do we stop the perpetual cycle of dissatisfaction? How do we go from looking past the moment to being in the moment?
Simple. It takes time, and not much of it. The other day I was getting my haircut and my stylist asked me how things were going.
“So, Q, has anything changed in the last two weeks?”
I hesitated. Usually I go for some really lame joke that inexplicably makes her laugh. This time, I went a different route.
“Things always change, dear. Except your teeth. They are still as white as the clouds.”
I admit: my quips are not always the greatest, but I still find a way to laugh the hardest of anyone at them. Lost in this moment wasn’t just my sense of humor, but also my sense of time. For as unspectacular as getting my haircut every two weeks is, it also is a form of catharsis, a way to stop thinking about the future and all the things I should be doing to ensure that future is stable.
It’s hard to really know what one should seek out of life. Is it starting a family? Making a bunch of money? Becoming famous? Obviously we all blaze our own trail, but we all seemingly come to somewhat of the same endpoint; that being finding a suitable partner and eventually starting a family.
Even though that concept seems so foreign right now, I figure one day the hormones inside my body will quit raging and I will gain a new perspective on life. Yet until then, I see no reason not to try to take this world for all it is worth.
“Travel while you are young,” they say. Once again, “they” have a point. I have been to many different locales in the past couple of months, all for inherently different reasons. It just so happens that I am publishing a book this year, making my varying journeys all the more important. Each place has a different story, whether that is a weekend in the heartland of America (the Midwest), or time on the east coast seeing where this country’s origins began.
Maybe it is this trip to Florida to celebrate the last spring break I will ever have, unwaveringly willing to stay in fifty-dollar motels that have busted lampshades and no toilet paper. Either way, I’m simply trying to see what the rest of the world has to offer before the clichéd doomsday, the point in my life where I will have unfathomably lost my youth and began the next phase of my short existence: marriage.
No, marriage is not the single most oppressing thing that can happen to a bachelor or bachelorette. To be fair, it might be the best thing we are afforded in this life.
But there will come a day when the party proverbially stops; a day where the most important thing on my to-do list isn’t to reload the liquor cabinet with Grey Goose or score tickets to the best show on First Ave. Perhaps it will be taking my son or daughter to piano lessons or a dance recital. But until that day, I want something else. I want the life I have right now. I want my Paris.