Happiness is a passion of mine. Always has been. Even when I haven’t always been happy I’ve always wanted to be happy. It’s a nice way to feel, a good goal state if I was forced to pick one.
I’ve noticed that I can recall two period of my life when I was truly happy – childhood up until I moved from Ireland at age 9 and building over the last 6 months with a particular dramatic jump in the last month. So, what going on?
Well, as good as I can tell, the exact opposite thing occurred at these two times. When the family moved from Ireland, I was forced, for the first time in my life, to see myself as separate and different from other people. This likely would have happened anyway, but when we landed in Canada in 1981 I became immediately obvious to me that I was not the same as my peers. They were Canadian and I was an Irish immigrant, I had an accent while they sounded the way I wanted to sound, my approach to school was different and the way I engaged people was slightly strange to others. The move introduced me to self-awareness’s jerk uncle self-consciousness who taught me how to see myself as not a part of what everyone else was a part of.
Move forward almost 30 years, with a fully formed prefrontal cortex and an abundance of information and experiences, I have been able to more accurately model the world as it actually is. But how is that? Well, it’s a lot like how it was right before I moved from Ireland – I am the same as everyone else, I have just been shaped differently. I am alone and unique, yet completely connected with everyone. I am no longer self-conscious, I am developing self-awareness. The self-awareness allows me to see that it’s all just a bunch of stories that we make up to give our life meaning. It is all pointless really so tell and sell yourself a decent story that makes you feel fantastic. The story I tell myself now is not that I am different from everyone else but that I am connect to everyone else, just most people don’t realize it.