This morning I was on one of many trains I've had to catch in the past few weeks. Trains are probably my favourite mode of transport; for some reason I can really let my mind wander when staring out of the window watching the countryside whizz by. Sometimes I think about nothing in particular, doodle dream (my name for somewhere between a lucid dream and a daydream) and perhaps consider what I'm going to have for tea. Mostly though, I let my thoughts meander all over the place, tangling and untangling and creating pretty patterns inside my head until I can suss out what the hell is going on.
Today was one of the latter.
As you may have guessed from my posts over the last six months or so, I haven't been at my best. I've been pretty down for various reasons but it was only this morning that it really hit home that I can't carry on like this.
'Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile' - Albert Einstein
Now I am no advocate for inherent, thoughtless selfishness. In fact due to some intense Christian upbringing it's been drilled into my skull for my entire life to be as selfless as possible. But I've finally realised that although good old Albert was right, if no one EVER put themselves first the world would be a considerably more miserable place. Plus the quote doesn't go, 'Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile, even at the expense of neglecting yourself'.
These thoughts were sparked by a conversation that I had with a good friend not long ago, who was struggling to balance his time between everything he felt he had to do and was consequently not able to do what he wanted to do. When he was offloading to me, the comparison to my former self was uncanny. Never stopping, trying to please everybody, without pausing to consider what I really wanted. Seeing the situation as an outsider really made me reflect on my own priorities.
Whilst I've slowed down a lot now, I'm still very much in the 'trying to keep everyone else happy' zone. And guess where I am? On the outside of the happy zone, running around the edges trying push people back if they begin to slide a little, totally exhausting myself and letting down the people I care about the most.
The truth is, the people you care about the most are the ones that probably care about you the most. Meaning when they see you running around the happy circle like a madman, you're never going to be able to make them happy. And why? Because they just want YOU to be happy.
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it's all that matters' - Audrey Hepburn
It can be difficult accepting that you can't be responsible for how everyone else feels. However, there is 0 doubt that you are responsible for you. I've learned that, despite how much I'd like it to be true, you can't rely on other people to make you happy. It isn't really fair on either party. To be happy deep down, like truly happy, you have to do what you love. Sometimes you're going to hurt people and let them down, but you know what? THAT'S OK. If life was just peachy all the time we'd never appreciate the good stuff.
Which is why I'm finding myself disagreeing with Paul, George, John and Ringo. Love ISN'T all you need. Some people are content in their solitude. Love just makes the ride a little sweeter. All you really need is happiness. I don't intend to waste anymore of my life on things that make me unhappy. Chase what you want, do what you love and fuck the rest.
Follow up post: What will survive of us is love