Feb 24, 2008

Fortune cookie says "Eat Buffet Chinese only every 4 months for maximum Pleasure."

The Pursuit of Happy - Make a list when you were truly happy.

It has occurred to me, though not for the first time, that sustained happiness is a fleeting thing. Rather than sustained, happiness requires that it be a fleeting emotion or happenstance for it to exist. For without comparison to moments otherwise, could it have any value?

I came to that conclusion after having listened to Richard Bausch's "Letter to the Lady of the House." At the end of his wife and his life together, although he felt like "leaving her altogether" because the petty quarrels and such, he would do it all over again for those moments, sweet moments, that he referred to those "times of loveliness."

"My sweet, my dear adversary, for everything I remember..."

I began to think about the times I have been happy in my life. I wondered if I could recreate some of those moments or similar ones, if the overall tone of my life would be better.

I suppose that in the recent weeks, I have been without a general peace about my life, thus in its absence, I noticed that my feeling of contentedness that I had been experiencing since I left Tennessee was not as intense. Maybe it is the onset of routine, the grind of work, the absence of Judy, or just a chemical inbalance... Maybe all those things.

I reflected, and thought of these moments of "loveliness" that had occurred in my life...

And these are:

1. Cuddling with Judy in the monkey hut with Einstein, Marti, Blue, and Buster, the cats and kitties.

2. After having become quite inebriated, Daniel and I had a fit of the giggles for what seemed forever while we smoked Camel lights and drank beer, many years ago in his dusty and cluttered garage.

3. At one of my first art shows in which I was involved, friends from the past and present came to visit and say hi, I sold a painting to a stranger, and I was on the piss.

4. A consistent and predictable cause of happiness, even if it is quite brief, is when I finish a new piece of artwork in which I have spent considerable time creating.

5. The only moment I remember in which my parents told me that they were proud of me, AND I believed them.... which was when I was about to buy a house, get a mortgage, and settle into an ordinary life. I never did go through with it...

I suppose there was an obligatory congratulations and we're proud sentiment when I graduated college, but since I feel it was required of me, the sentiment was of little value.

6. Listening to Kat's hearty laughter about some story about tater tots. It was odd, that the memory would maintain itself in my memory as happy, I think it has more to do with the perceived familiarity that I saw in her laughter, that like with me, true delight and laughter come sparingly. Perceived as I do not know if Kat is a similar person as I, the brooding tormented artist archetype.

7. The moment with my ex Sarah in which I felt sincere happiness and excitement from her. It was Valentine's and she said she got something for me. She took it out from behind her, jumping up and down, excitedly and animated as she was prone to doing, and gave me a heart shaped box of chocolates. It didnt matter to me that it was a $1 box from the dollar store. She was poor at the time, and the manner in which she gave it to me was in a fashion more valuable than any Thing. I suppose I could feel that she was excited about being 'in love', and having someone to to receive her affections more than it was about giving me anything. I dont think she was used to being in a moderately serious relationship with potential.

8. Despite the egos, and the inability for my artists to regard me as art director, working with 3 guys in a dungeon of an art department, each toiling away at their artwork from day to day, making dirty jokes, and taking cheap joking stabs at each other was good. I think Mark being there as a work friend was the key.

Also before there were four, I worked with Chris, and we too had good times making dirty and awful jokes...

Kindred spirits we were, especially Chris and Mark.

(Me and Mark playing Nerf Russian Roulette during lunch... http://jimiyo.com/deer2.jpg)

9. Eating sushi with Shana making pee, poo, and genital jokes. Being able to read each others minds in a way, of the next punchline...

10. Christian and I, long ago, when I was 21 were best friends and she was my first grown up love. We used to sit on the couch, and I recall, sometimes inebriated we would, like Daniel and I, have giggling fits that seemed to last forever, til our cheeks ached. Those, those were such times of loveliness.

I remember, Chrisitan's cat Simon had diarrhea and he had dragged his butthole on the kitchen floor leaving a trail, somewhat like an infinty sign.

I had a good laugh at that.

11. When I picked up Judy at LAX. She looked so beautiful. It had been over a month or so when I saw her.

12. Eating buffet Chinese food after at least a 4 month hiatus. Subsequent visits the weeks after did not cause the same level of happiness.

13. My younger brother Joey and I went fishing with Grandmaw and a man whose name I cant even remember. A hispanic man, who within a year or so after we had gone fishing, committed suicide. Regardless, he took all of us on the lake, and I caught a fish. Grandmaw wanted a picture of me and Joey and the fish. I held the fish, and at the most opportune moment, the fish pooed on my hand. Joey and I were laughing.

We have a picture of that... somewhere.

14. Jeff, my best friend for a short time in my early 20's, and I used to play video games I would download on the computer while we smoked cigarettes, listening to this his gay music. He had an affinity for British pop.

The fondest moments are playing Duke Nukem 3D.

15. Winning 'Elite Artist' status at Gfxartist.com. That took 2 years of toiling at night and weekends while working at Dell. It was the absolution as an artist I needed to believe in my abilities. Winning $3500 from DBH wasnt bad either, but for some reason, it didnt really make me all too happy. Money I suppose has never really made me too happy.

16. Being here on the ranch with the kitties will probably be looked upon quite fondly when the years have passed and I am no longer here.

And the conclusion I have come to after looking for things that made me happy...

Only a few can be recreated on my own.
All others are caused by the presence of another being. The best moments caused by the interaction with a good good friend, that could almost read my mind.

Up to this point, I dont think I had taken stock of what's made me happy.

I always thought #4 was the one that caused me the most happiness, but I guess I've clinged to it because it is something I can control. Friends, other people, I can not.

I hope to go back to the city one day. Although with that choice will come the sacrifice of leaving Easton, Cathy, and Jemma, as well as the other characters that have come into my life as friends.


OH BTW, This Forum Thread has caused me much happiness, but some of the content is NOT SAFE FOR WORK.


Also take a look at this... Can you predict happiness?

It's an interesting article of some scientifically based outcomes trying to predict happiness.

I tend to think that the findings somewhat back up my philosophy of out of sight, out of mind, though, thats another blog about nothingness twinged with the disheartenment, or maybe enlightenment about the ways of mankind.


Shana said...

Reading this post made me happy along with my first-cup-of-coffee ritual. And asparagus pee always makes me grin cause I think of you.

kat said...

How many kats do you know?

kat said...

I am brooding and tormented, it's just not visible to the naked eye. Fortunately laughter comes easily to me.. keeps me sane among all the self-analysis. True delight though, should be less rare.

Brad said...

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with string
These are a few of my favorite things