WHERE IS THE LINE BETWEEN CHOOSING HAPPINESS AND BEING SELFISH?

For as long as I can remember, I have tried to live by the motto ‘everything happens for a reason’ and I have always considered it a fairly healthy way to live my life. By abiding by this, I am banishing worries and living a **fairly** worry-free life, I am able to put trust in myself and do my best at shooting blindly for the stars, hoping against hope that I will land on my feet.

It means that when bad things happen around me, I am forced to search for the silver linings, when monstrosities happen in the world, I am made to believe that some good, somewhere, must come and when I make mistakes, I am able, in part, to distance myself from them, by blaming something out of my control.

There is a huge part of me that hopes that my life has already been laid out for me, I am desperate to believe that someone is sitting up in the sky, basically playing The Sims – on acid – who has already got the whole thing sussed. I would also love, more than anything, to be able to skip forward 10 years, check in, see where I am, who I’m with, what I’m up to and return back to current day totally able to follow my heart, trusting that there is a plan of some sort.

Because I spend a lot of my life feeling like I’m getting stuff wrong, that I got onto the wrong path. That I followed my feet for too long or missed a sign, that I’m behind the wheel of a car and I can’t reach the pedals. I sometimes look up and think SHIT, this can’t be right… can it? In fact, nearly every time I look up I feel something like that and after a while, I suppose you just want to stop looking up, for fear of what you’ll see.

And I think that’s pretty normal. I think there are a lot of people out there who just can’t face looking up right now, for fear of what they’ll see.

But the thing is, we only get one chance here, and every single motivational meme, film quote, Pinterest board, blog like mine, chalk board, class room, fucking crisp wrapper will remind you of that at every single turn. They tell you time and time again that you only get once chance here, so you might as well be happy.

But what they don’t do, the unhelpful bastards, is tell you HOW, how to be happy.

They don’t tell you to quit your job, they don’t tell you to break up with your partner, they don’t tell you not to kiss your best mate, they don’t tell you if you should buy the house, to move abroad, to tell someone that you love them, to drop out of school. No, they just leave you with the ever elusive… do what makes you happy.

But, what if what makes you happy right now is a disaster in the long term? What then? What if you love love love working in a bar because the company is great and the hours suit your lie-ins perfectly, but you know that really you want to start building a career and that at 33 time is slipping away? What if you are sleeping with someone that you absolutely love to bits but shouldn’t be because you know that people could get hurt? What if you drop out of school or uni because you’re bored and you hate it but realise later that you haven’t thought of a plan B, that there isn’t one?

So. What then? Where is the line between guaranteeing happiness right now but gambling your future and sacrificing what you’ve got now for the chance of something better? Is there a line? What are we supposed to do?

And more to the point, where is the line between choosing what makes us happy and just being selfish?

You see, I spend 90% of my life feeling guilty for something. My mum always says “you’re only ever as happy as your least happy child” which I actually get, times a million, because although I don’t have children, I apply this to everyone. Generally speaking, I can only ever be as happy as my least happy friend, or acquaintance. I HATE other people being sad, I can’t deal with it and I feel perpetually responsible for it.

So the idea of doing something just for me, something that makes me happy, but that might not please someone else? It’s totally alien to me.

“You’ve gotta look out for number one.” That’s what they say. That’s the pep-talk. That’s the no nonsense version of ‘be happy’. It’s the ‘be happy’ on steroids. And it makes sense. But then they also say “do unto others as you would have done unto you”, and I get confused again.

I suppose you need to make the decision; are you going to be a good person or are you going to be happy? Can you be both? Or does that depend on your circumstances?

Adam and Eve, should have lived happily ever after, they had each other, all the food and the most beautiful place in the world. But Eve fucked it, because she wanted something more, she wanted something that she couldn’t have and as a result she doomed all of mankind… thanks Eve. Eve has probably gone down in history as one of the most selfish people on the planet, but was it really her fault? Was she being selfish or bless her, was she just trying to be happy? And if her time came about again, what would she choose this time?

You see lots of us are fucking it up, a lot of the time. Relationships are exploding left right and centre, people are striving for more, wanting what they can’t have, running like rats from sinking ships, even if their ships aren’t actually sinking yet. And it’s not just relationships. It’s happening EVERYWHERE. Offices are full of spunky young things ready to stamp on the face of anyone threatening their job, even if they themselves love what they do but are tirelessly scrolling through ads looking for new jobs with better money, better hours, better benefits.

We’re in a tricky position, we want the best, but we don’t want to be a dick about it. Which is why, we need to go back to this idea of faith. Having faith that everything happens for a reason.

Sometimes, all of us do really fucking stupid stuff. We eat apples that don’t belong to us (Eve, here’s looking at you), we sabotage people to get what we want, we sit behind the bike sheds with a fag on rather than revising. But it feels right at the time. That’s why we do it. That’s the reason. It might not be a very good one, but there it is.

Ultimately, we absolutely have to trust ourselves to make the right decision and we need to remember that some of them are out of our control. Yes, in theory this does make it sound like I’m pushing the blame, but isn’t high time someone did that? Isn’t it about time we gave ourselves a little bit of a break?

No, we don’t always make the right decision. Yes, sometimes what we do is selfish. Sometimes it makes us feel like the worst people in the world, sometimes, we know we’ve fucked up, sometimes we’d do anything to turn back the time, but a lot of the time, despite all of this, we’d do it all over again, because it made us happy. And can you really, truly, actually regret something that made you happy enough to do it in the first place, knowing all the risks?

Everything does happen for a reason, it has to, I can’t believe it doesn’t. My biggest fear in life is being selfish, but my second biggest is being unhappy, so I’m going to need to find a way to walk this tight-rope if I stand a chance at a life worth living.

Live a life without regret, that’s what they tell us.