Yes Mike we already know this, so what are you trying to tell me? In last week’s post, I talked about breaking out of the matrix and how that is the ultimate key to a life of happiness. This week, I want to add on to that post and say that breaking out of the matrix is hard. The way the average person lives their life dictates a life of happy moments, but not a life of happiness. But even when you realize this problem in your own life, that is not enough. The Matrix tries to prevent us from understanding what the true purpose of our lives are, but even when it fails at that goal, its fight is not over. This is what I am currently fighting with now.
For the past month, I have been fighting for a life of happiness. I have tried to embed happiness in everything I do, whether it’s class, my work-study job, meetings, cooking, whatever. I have succeeded more often than not, but have failed at others. Whenever I have to do something that is boring, tiresome, or annoying, I automatically switch my mindset to feel happy about whatever I am doing. I could choose to feel like crap when I have to do five hours of work-study, or I could choose to be happy that I have an opportunity to do something cool and make some money in the process.
However, even fun can take us away from a life of happiness! Case in point, Dillo Day. Dillo Day is an annual festival at Northwestern University which takes place on the last Saturday of May. It brings thousands of students at Northwestern and people from around the country out to Northwestern Lakefill to celebrate the power of two things: music and alcohol. Here at Northwestern, we gear up for this day from the beginning of the school year. And with good reason, it’s an amazing day! Dillo Day is one of the greatest – if not the greatest – traditions we have at Northwestern. It’s the one day where Northwestern is like other party schools, and students at Northwestern are super excited to feel like we are party animals too.
But here’s the problem.
It’s only one day! No, I’m not saying we should have a month-long or a year-long festival, I’m saying that we use Dillo Day as our one major day of happiness. Yes, students have other happy days in their lives, but it seems to me like students use Dillo Day as the main outlet for happiness during the school year. It’s like having a crappy week and using the weekend as the release. Why do we trap ourselves in this matrix?
It’s okay to love Dillo Day, trust me, if you look at my facebook page and Twitter, you will see how excited I was to see Nelly and Rhymefest on Saturday, but I did my best not to sacrifice my happiness on all the other days AND go happy-crazy on Dillo Day. You do not have to live of overall unhappiness for a few moments of happiness. Happiness is an emotion you should feel constantly, not something that you should get a taste of one day each week. That is an easy happiness and is short-lived.
When you are able to be happy about everything you do – whether work or play – that is when you are truly happy. But this happiness is hard to achieve. But do not fear this large task, because you have already crossed the threshold so many others have not. Just by not accepting society’s current model of happiness, you have already begun to shape your own sense of what happiness means. George Santayana said that, “Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness.” I believe this is a powerful statement because once you have decided to be out of the matrix, you will need to have the strength to overcome the new obstacles in your life. This process of happiness will be tough. You will stumble or fall off the path at times and feel as if you are slipping right back to the start line. But when you feel down on yourself, just know that you are on to something special. No matter how long it takes, you should be excited that you are trying to live the life you truly want to live.