Stumbling Towards Happiness

When it comes down to it, we're all looking for the same thing aren't we?

"All I want now, is happiness for you and me"
(Elliott Smith, Happiness)

But what is it they say, happiness is not a destination but a journey?  So far so cheesy, but as is so often the case, it also happens to be true.

We all know that when we get what we've been chasing the ensuing happiness can be fleeting, as the inevitable question of 'what next?' or even 'is this it?' arises sooner or later. 
As long as we are alive there is never a pinnacle, no final destination.

From the technophile forever anticipating the arrival of the next new iPhone to the Olympic champion searching for a new mountain to climb, it seems that we are programmed to be unsatisfied with our lot, to constantly chase chase chase in search of the happiness, the fulfilment, that teases us with its promise before revealing its inherent elusiveness.

When I started my blog I was far from happy - the sharper readers among you may have picked up on this - and I guess like all of us I was seeking my happy ending.  And reader, for a period of time I thought I had it.

Oh, it could all have been so perfect...

The ex that I was missing so much throughout December made a surprising reappearance in my life in January.  Well, I say surprising but deep down a part of me had felt that our story wasn't finished, that unwritten chapters were waiting to be penned.  And as luck would have it, I now had a platform on which to write them.

It could have been a romcom... boy gets divorced, boy meets girl, boy and girl split up, girl meets new boy, boy starts blog, girl gets back in touch writh boy....  Sleepless in Seattle?  Step aside Tom Hanks, there's a new leading man in town.

Except.  Except....

Just as the plots of Hollywood romcoms can be tediously predictable, so too can real life.  I expect that I don't need to tell you that just as suddenly and unexpectedly as she reappeared in my life, so too she disappeared.  But you figured that ending at the beginning, right?  Yup, we’re always the last to realise…

Well, I guess life still had a few lessons to teach me.

And so, we pick ourselves up, we dust ourselves down... and we dive headfirst back into dating.

'Way to go Matty, you really learned your lesson didn't you...?'

 (Randall 'Tex' Cobb, Heavyweight Title Challenger) 

And do you know what I learned from my latest dating experience?  That I'm not 'emotionally available'.

I know, I know, I've gone too far this time.  I may have just about gotten away with talking about, like, feelings and stuff over the past few months, but seriously Matthew, W.T.F.  You need to get a grip son.

Well here's the thing: post-divorce I'm finding that the dating world has its own lingo that I am still getting to grips with, and although it's a new term on me I can confirm that being 'emotionally unavailable' is indeed, to use the modern parlance, a thing. 

Yes, even for men (well, for this particular, or rather, peculiar sort of man anyway).

I think I'm beginning to realise that chasing after happiness, chasing after those feelings whose loss we mourn, can lead us further away from what we seek.  Because in chasing happiness our feelings can be an unreliable guide, our wants and desires leading us to believe that we've found what we're looking for, turning our attention away from what it is that we might actually need. 

All feelings and emotions are transitory and when sadness and hurt still lingers inside, the heightened feelings awakened by meeting somebody new may mask them, but for how long?

Life is a great teacher when we are prepared to learn.  It is also the toughest of schools.  In learning this particular lesson I hurt a good person.  Badly.  And to be honest, I don’t know what the hell happened.  What I do know is that I wish I could have learned this lesson in another way, a lesson that didn’t require another person to pay the cost.      

After three years of riding a wave through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, maybe it’s time to take the foot off the pedal.  To stop looking for something that is missing and instead to take in and appreciate the view from just where I am.

Maybe the brightest days can be found right here.

Zigzagging Toward the Light - Conor Oberst

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