We run after happiness like the plague. If we could just have that one thing, then we could be fulfilled. But the problem with happiness is that it doesn’t stop bleeding. We want it again and again.
The thing about happiness is that it’s attainable, just not when it’s attached to material goods. A pair of new Jordan’s or a new iPhone may make us happy but the feeling is ephemeral. Two weeks later we’re on the search for a new drip.
But what does increase happiness and stick around for a bit are experiences. Memories unite us and make us human. Shared moments run deeper than a new pair of AirPods.
I know that I stopped thinking about extreme grief as the sole vehicle for great art when the grief started to take people with it. And I get it. The tortured artist is the artist that gets remembered for all time, particularly if they if they either perish or overcome. But the truth is that so many of us are stuck in the middle. So many of us begin tortured and end tortured, with only brief bursts of light in between, and I'd rather have average art and survival than miracles that come at the cost of someone's life.
Time is simply blocks or slices of reality, added on top of one another. Writes C. D. Broad’s in his theory of time in 1923:
[…] such a theory as this accepts the reality of the present and the past, but holds that the future is simply nothing at all. Nothing has happened to the present by becoming past except that fresh slices of existence have been added to the total history of the world […] The sum total of existence is always increasing, and it is this which gives the time-series a sense [direction] as well as an order.
“Basic, simple, repetitive activities…capable of great sophistication and elaboration. They can be completely banal and meaningless, and yet they can also involve great passions and adventures. Both can lead you into strange and unknown territories: a walk on the wild side.”
We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.