When life just isn’t going my way, I have to ask myself these questions on a daily basis: What’s good in your life right now? What should you be thankful for? What are you taking for granted? Who are you taking for granted? What helps you get out of bed? I can usually find some answers to my questions. Good answers. Good things. Good people. Good reasons. But what I can’t always do is explain why I’m still not happy about them.
Of course, there’s the age old question, what the hell does “happy” mean to me anyway? I’ve read the endless amounts of books and articles about various happiness “projects,” the myths associated with happiness, the true definition of happiness, and how to live a purpose-driven life. They go like, “Find your passion, do what you love, love what you do, find balance, practice moderation, find your faith, learn to love yourself, etc.” Some days, my reaction is just, “Nooooooooo! It’s not working!!!!!!”
Everyone’s got a formula to calculate and attain happiness, but sometimes I get tired of calculating. Some of us are good at faking “happy,” and some of us don’t want to fake anything. At the end of the day, you feel what you feel and no formula will fix that. Why can’t your head and your heart and all of your parts just march to the beat of the same drum? That, I’ll admit, I don’t know the answer to. I’ll tell you what I do know, and you know it too.
Friends are the answer. They are the best answers. They might not march to the same beat, but they’ll be there walking next to when you drop your trumpet, flaunt your janky, spastic marching moves; and collectively, they’ll make it look and sound real nice to you when it’s just a giant storm of a march. So, this post is to my marching band of friends, to their friends, to your friends and to their friend’s friends.
It doesn’t matter if you’re wrong, you have that friend who tells you you’re right. Doesn’t matter if you need sympathy, you have the friend who gives you tough love just for the sake of tough love (and we KNOW what you’re doing when you do that, you old dog you).
Doesn’t matter if you did a great thing and didn’t receive recognition, you’ll have the friend who applauds you and has a (pretty) good explanation for why you weren’t recognized for it. You need a friend that’s your biggest fan.
Doesn’t matter if you’ve lost all hope or faith in people, you have the friend whose faith — be it in life or love or whatever kind you of faith you lost — will rub off on you. We underestimate the power of faith. It’s contagious and friends know how to share it.
Doesn’t matter if you straight up make the wrong move every single time, you’ll have the friend who tells you that the wrong moves are the right moves. You need people like that to justify your unconventional life decisions. If you don’t have that friend yet, get one. They’re very fun and a little toxic, like whiskey minus the hangover!
Doesn’t matter if you’ve made the same mistake over and over and over again. You whine and complain and cry about wanting to fix it but never heed the advice they give; yet that friend still works to get you to realize that you can fix it, that you can change. That’s a really annoying thing to have to do, by the way. So that friend must really like you or you must really be fun or pretty or something special.
And then you’ll have the friend whose goal it is just to make you feel okay. Sometimes that’s enough, and sometimes you just want to be told that you’ll be okay.
Friends are a great thing. Find them. Keep them. Treat them well. Introduce them to each other. Together you’ll form the most messed up marching band of all time. Well, to be fair, what isn’t messed up about marching bands? Those outfits… never mind. The best part about this is that you’ll have that friend who tries to tell you that it all legitimately sounds good. You’ll have the one who was in show choir, plays some musical instrument, is in a real band and is like, “No, but this sounds like really, insanely bad. It’s like really off key and yeah… No offense.” Then, there’s the one who is like, “It’s different, but different is good!” Oh, let’s not forget about the fixer. The fixer wants to work through it all and have one too many band practices. There’s also that friend who does not give a hoot about anything that’s going on, and everyone’s okay with that. Finally, you’ll have the one who just smiles and nods and tells you that everything’s going to be alright. And that’s enough. Friends are enough.
There is a friend for all occasions. You have the optimists, the pessimists, the advocates, the ignorants, the special ones, the ambivalent ones, the faithful, the faithless, the cheerleaders and the moral degenerates. They are all the best in their own ways. They might not make you happy, but they’ll sure as hell march by your side as you try to understand what happiness means anyway.