This can’t be happening. For the second day in a row, everything is – well this is embarrassing – going well. It’s a bizarre feeling. I have made sure I don’t let myself feel this way for very long. I must have forgotten.
This forgetfulness is a new condition. A new anxiety. As is the beginning of every toxic relationship, the human-anxiety nuptial agreement thrives on co-dependency.
We have become anxious about things going well because that would mean letting go of our usual anxieties. That’d mean a new kind of loneliness. One in which you are not buried under the weight of your own solipsistic ideals. One in which you look up and realize other people are filled with similar dread, similar apprehensions, and occasionally, a similar ignorant, blissful forgetfulness. One in which you are not alone at all.
This realization should make us empathetic to people’s emotional flaws, failures, and fractures and their happiness. Instead, we’ve become punishingly judgmental. Because, and this won’t surprise you, you hate yourself for your anxieties. We have stared at this condition long enough that it is now staring back at us, from the abyss.
When you see anxiety in other people, you become this weird beast that pauses eating away at itself for a little while and enjoys someone else being preyed upon instead.
Of course, every new condition is flushed off in the social media toilet. Not this one. This started way before the sewage canals for social media were designed. This malady started with our addiction to our future selves. Our addiction to transforming ourselves.
We have constantly been told improvement is hard. That it involves suffering. And the enthusiastic goopbags that we are we didn’t sit around waiting for suffering to come. We went after it. Somewhere along the way, we realized we were running in a circle. Like a dog chasing its tail. But we didn’t want to look stupid. Worse: lazy. So we invented an arbitrary end to the circle and called it happiness.
It’s why the universal answer to every strife-filled confusion is: happiness is the only thing that matters. And when happiness arrives, we begin to feel stagnant. Like we aren’t doing much with our lives.
If things are stable at work, you wonder if you even matter there anymore. If your relationship is going well for longer than usual, you wonder if you are growing apart. If you are having fun, you also start engineering a catastrophe in your head.
That’s what is tragic about this sickness. We have forgotten to feel a real sense of contentment. One that arises from status-quo. From simplicity. In the search for self-importance, we have become defined by our struggles. It has become our identity.
Walk into a gym and you will never spot one happy guy/gal there. They all look raging pissed at something because they are in the middle of a struggle and aren’t supposed to smile when you are struggling.
Anxiety is what happens when you make happiness the end. And improvement the means. We’ve passed that anxiety down and it is perhaps the greatest disservice we have done to the next generation.
To be anxious about your state of contentment is tragic. It’s why we never come close to finding ourselves. Because we never allow ourselves to feel anything deeply enough. You are afraid of happiness because you are afraid of sadness. It made you anxious that your means will never get you to your end. But now you are afraid your end will destroy your means.
I hope it does.
Your fraught-filled attempts at transforming yourself have run you into the ground, into the abyss of insanity you call anxiety. Where every happy person looks like a lazy loser. Your sanity and the need to find it in everyone is what makes your insane. It’s your disease. Your means. Your life.
It’s not an irony that the happy person and mad person both laugh. Happiness is its own form of madness, but only a few people feel it. Only a few people live it. Because only a few people live.