A few years ago, I heard something on the radio that helped me to craft a more simplified perspective on life. As we all know, life is big. It is bigger than anything else in the world. It is impossible to measure life in practical units because all the things that make it individually whole are too subjective and independent of anyone else’s quirks and eccentricities. Life cannot be measured by anything except in units of time and, for some, that is just too difficult – knowing the ticking seconds bring each one of us closer to the end – unless those units of time are designated as moments. Moments are something I wholeheartedly believe make the big picture worthwhile, for without the small measures of memories consisting of people, places, sounds, etc., a constant stream of happiness just seems way too unrealistic and out of reach.
I felt this way, somewhere in me, before the voice on the radio clarified it for me. That part of me didn’t know how to speak or, even if it could, it was unsure of how to say it. Creating one’s own happiness is not about obtaining materialistic possessions, earning the financial gains, or the having the means to be “better” than anyone else (and, again, how does one measure being “better”?).
Wayne Coyne, the famed lead singer of the Flaming Lips, was that voice. For some reason, I had turned my car radio on to NPR’s This I Believe and waited to hear Wayne’s idea of happiness. I listened intently, as he has this kind of captivating everyman’s way of speaking, and found myself nodding my head in agreement and smiling at this moment of simplicity. Wayne spoke of unwarranted pity for others, his connection to another person’s place in life, and laughter. He also spoke of facing death, being an observer, and freeing his mind.
Wayne used so few words, uncomplicated and clean, and shared his story in less than three minutes. I was fortunate enough to find this video and thrilled to hear it contained his entire essay from This I Believe, along with the Flaming Lips’ song Do You Realize? at the tail end. A nice closer, if you ask me.
You may not take from his words what I did, but I hope they allow for a less cumbersome view on one of the most sought after and least understood characteristics of being human.
Happiness in life is what you make of it.