What We Think About Happiness

Ivan here. 

I spend a lot of time tinkering with my habits. Forming the right ones and getting rid of the bad ones. It’s a process that involves a lot of trial and error and I'm very OCD about it, to a point where Jennie has to remind me when I start to become inflexible, when I take things too seriously and place unreasonable demands on myself and others. Oftentimes I overweight my career at the expense of our relationship. This is obviously not good, but the right balance is really difficult to find, let alone achieve. There are only so many hours in a day. Time is limited and that scares the living shit out of me. 

Here's a scary quote:

The chains of habit are too light to be felt, until they’re too heavy to be broken.
— Samuel Johnson

The older you get, the harder it is to change (not impossible, just harder). There may come a point sometime in the not so distant future, where the things you do are no longer conscious choices that you make. They’ll just be who you are. And the effort it would take to overcome the inertia will require more willpower than you have on reserve. 

Take a simple example: reading. After graduating from college and taking that first job, the number of books that people read plummets. This is a shame because reading is one of two possible ways of learning anything new (the other is talking to lots of people). 

Each passing year, the amount of inertia it takes for you to pick up a book increases ever so slightly, until one day you wake up with two kids, a mortgage and a laundry list of higher priorities. By then, getting yourself to pick up a book becomes as difficult as sticking your hand in an open flame. 

Now substitute reading for whatever it is that you really want, whoever it is that you want to become. Then ask yourself whether you're allocating your time wisely. 

The closest thing to happiness is in the pursuit of whoever it is that we want to become, stripped clean all the bullshit from the people outside of us

The truth of the matter is, Jennie and I don't care about happiness. Being happy is like being rich. You can't chase it for its own sake because there's no imaginary finish line that you can cross where you say "okay, now we're happy." The closest thing to happiness is in the pursuit of whoever it is that we want to become, stripped clean of the bullshit that our environment tries to impose upon us.  

I have a widget installed on my Google Chrome browser. It measures my age in real time. I can see the seconds of my life on this planet ticking away. What we want and have always wanted out of our life together is to able to look back and say to ourselves that we played our hand the best we could. That we didn't sleepwalk through this life. That we made some goddamn choices, regardless of the outcome.

And that's a victory greater than any success or failure that we can imagine.