What Does a Happy Life Look Like?

by Haley Plotnik under Relationships,Single Life

As a Jewish adult, I’ve felt a lot of pressure to be successful. However, I don’t think the same emphasis is placed on being happy. Going into the working world after engineering school can feel like a nice change of pace for many recent graduates. However, the working world has its own stresses. Recently, people have been asking me what I want to do after graduation this December. Truth be told: I don’t exactly know! Many of my peers don’t know what we want our lives to look like.

The real question I’ve been asking myself is, “What does a happy life look like?” To be honest, I was in a deep rut midway through college, and I struggled to enjoy anything for a while. Now that the clouds have parted, I’m trying to emerge a stronger, happier, richer, and more compassionate person for the experience.

I sometimes still have dark days, but on the whole, things are looking up. Still, I can’t quite envision what my happy life looks like. Right now, it mostly consists of vague wants that are fairly universal. I’m trying to compile a who, what, where, when, and why of happy.

  • Who: Do you need to live near your parents or a sibling?
  • What: What are you going to spend the majority of your life doing?
  • Where: Does geography matter? Does the “Who” category trump the “Where” category?
  • When: When do you want these things to happen (if at all)? Not everyone wants children, for example.
  • Why: Why do we want certain things? What do they say about us as a person? The “Why” category is the hardest for me, but I think if I could figure it out more concretely, I would have an easier time answering in the other four questions.

Even though happiness is a mindset, having concrete goals makes it easier for me to document progress and create a sense of accomplishment along the way. What does your happy life look like, and how are you working toward making it a reality?


Stuck In The Middle With You

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Not every relationship has to immediately lead to marriage. Sometimes a relationship is cruising right along at the perfect speed, not too fast, not too slow, and you’re happy just where you are. Don’t feel pressured by others to propose or jump ship because they can’t understand how you can be content with your life the way it is.

Case in point: I met my friend Dan in 2005. A few years later he met a woman named Jenna and they have been in a serious, committed relationship for the past 5 years, living together the past 2 years. Everyone always asked him when he was going to propose, but Jenna never pressured him. They were happy. They finally got engaged last week, on their terms, in their own time. They haven’t set a date yet, and that’s okay too. They’re enjoying the bliss that comes from being newly engaged!

Everyone needs to stop imposing their timelines on other people. You know, the “must call in 48 hours” rule and the “must ask me on a date 3 days in advance” rule and “3rd date sex” rule and the “one year dating, one year engaged” rule. It’s okay to have guidelines by which to live, but there’s no need to enforce those on your friends. If they are happy, then you should be happy for them.


Mask

by JeremySpoke under Single Life

Everybody wears masks all of the time. By ‘everybody’, of course, I mean ‘children’, and by ‘all the time’, I mean ‘Halloween’. When you grow up, you can’t wear your Jason mask anymore because your boss says, “Jeremy, your customers are skeptical about the validity of our product because you constantly wear a hockey mask that is most closely associated with a fictitious serial murderer.”

However, when constantly battling depression/anxiety while simultaneously trying to live a productive life, things can be difficult. As a result, no matter how horrible I feel, I have to pretend to be happy a lot of the time. I don’t have to pretend to be friendly, though. I am naturally friendly. People don’t just want friendly. They also want happy. How much time do you want to spend with a dude who compliments you and pays for everything, but never stops talking about abused kittens?

I think there has to come a point when the mask becomes a part of your face. There has to eventually come a moment when you’re not sure if you’re pretending to be happy or actually happy. Happiness is the uncertainty of not being sure if you’re happy or not. If you know that you’re happy, then you’re not truly happy, you’re just an asshole. There always has to be some semblance of uncertainty, or else I think that it’s somewhat forced. If you absolutely know everything that’s lying ahead of you, and you’re okay with that, then you can’t truly be happy, because the biggest source of happiness is that of surprise.

I kind of got lost in the bullshit I was writing about in this post, and my next post will be about girls.

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Putting on a Smile

by JeremySpoke under Relationships,Single Life

No matter how bad your day was, your future depends on how happy you look. If you got fired thirty minutes ago, you better be the happiest person on the planet before you get to the solidarity of your room. At any moment, you could unknowingly meet the love of your life, and she won’t be if she sees you as some strange man crying in line at Subway®, spilling his guts about how he will die alone to the kindly elderly woman in front of him who, without regard for decency, ordered ten sandwiches.

You want to be that guy, laughing and joking around with the kindly elderly woman in front of him. Be sure you offer to spend the roughly $1000 for her ten sandwiches because she forgot to bring cash and her checkbook is dated ’1973′. Do you think that I’m making up this old lady? I can promise you that this woman is at the Subway by my house every evening at six, and she always gets ten sandwiches. I incorporate real people into my work. I’m like Jack Dawson.

Basically, my lesson here is that being happy is not enough. You have to be nice. To old people.

Really, all you have to do is smile all of the time and constantly buy old people things. Did I just figure out the key to making women fall in love with you? I will let you know in exactly one week at my wedding reception. Also, ladies, did you like my Titanic reference?


Satisfaction

by JeremySpoke under Relationships,Single Life

I believe that you never truly appreciate anything you have until you either lose it or wake up from that dream where you marry your high school sweetheart and win the lottery. Of course, in reality, you would have to win the lottery first, because, come on. Look at you. Plus, your high school sweetheart is married with two kids and lives in France. You have no chance with somebody in France. You think you’re an ‘advice columnist’ for a dating site, but really you are just hoping that somewhere out there, the perfect person is reading your blog and will contact you once her shrine dedicated to you is finished and all she needs is a lock of your hair so she can pray to you as a deity even though she’s probably Jewish.

In reality, if you’re in a relationship, there’s a good chance that a good part of you wishes you were single. Conversely, if you are single, there’s a definite chance that all of you wants to be in a relationship. You are never satisfied with the status quo. However, once your situation changes, your desires flip and you are equally unsatisfied. The only way to realize how much another person means to you is by losing the person. Of course, a break-up is not the only way to lose a person, but it’s the most convenient to write in this post because the other topics can be more depressing.

Take my ex-girlfriend. No, take her! That wasn’t a joke, please take her. This has nothing to do with this blog post, I just really dislike her and sometimes she pops into my head while I’m doing things like writing, eating, sleeping, fishing, etc.

What I meant to say was that you should step back sometimes and imagine how great it is that you have someone in your life. It doesn’t even have to be someone you’re in a romantic relationship with. It could be a sibling, parent, child, friend, or really anyone. All it takes is one bad dream that you don’t have them anymore, and you’re grateful all of the next day. Pretend you’ve had a terrible nightmare every night in a scenario where you lost this other person. Then you would be grateful for life. Also, you would be scared beyond belief. Nevermind. Don’t do this. Just be happy.


Happiness vs. Sex

by JeremySpoke under JDate,Single Life

Though the notions of happiness and sex can happily coexist, they are mutually exclusive for me. I don’t actually know the precise definition of ‘mutually exclusive’, but I use it all the time nevertheless because it makes me sound smarter than I really am. I was trying to say that I can only have ‘happiness’ or ‘sex’ independently. Of course, in this case, they are not mutually exclusive because that would imply that if I had both, then they would cancel each other out, and that just makes no sense.

When I was young, I was happy. The world was new and it opened up so many fresh possibilities. I don’t remember this but I’m sure that my first taste of pizza was fantastic. I started making friends and they were equally fantastic. I had a great family. I would play catch with my dad and my mom would read me stories. A basketball court was poured right in my backyard and my brother and my neighbors would play on it every day. I had a pet dog all to myself, and then to my brother and myself, and then to my brother, my sister, and myself.

When I first discovered sex, though, the happiness started to slowly fade away. It opened up a whole new world of pain, suffering, and inadequacy that would last at least until age 18, when I would discover alcohol. Of course, alcohol would ultimately open even more horrible doors that I do not want to get into right now. My entire teenage life consisted of trying to impress girls. Everything I wore, listened to, watched, read, said, drank, typed, and ate were all carefully selected in order to make an impression on these people. I no longer enjoyed activities I used to love. For example, while I used to love to play basketball with my brother, I now had to compete to make a team. The team was just a segue to impress girls. Of course, I didn’t make the team, and thus lost the desire to ever play anywhere. I started eating healthier foods so I wouldn’t look like a fat ass. This, of course, affected my mood as well. I was hungry and sad and still could not impress girls.

Finally, when young adulthood came, I was able to meet girls with the help of modern technology and the wisdom that comes with age. I used, for example, sites like JDate to match people for me. Though I was happier that I could meet women, I was not completely happy. I still obsessed myself with trying to win their favor by, for example, showering more than once a month and getting rid of my ridiculous moustache. I think that the only way for me to be truly happy would be if I could stop obsessing over aesthetics, and sit back with my moustache and eat whatever the hell I wanted.

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