earth it makes sense to have kids?! I mean, they are going to suffer! Why do we assume that life is going to be great for them? Why do we believe that “life” is a good thing in general? Everyone talks about the fact that life is a gift and that we should just be super happy and thankful for being the chosen ones to receive this gift. Why? Why should we be thankful for “life”? Why are we “lucky” to be alive? Seriously, why? I mean, what are we comparing it to? Being lucky is a relative thing, don't you think? And we have no idea what it means to NOT be alive. So, isn't saying, “oh we are so lucky to be alive” an incorrect statement?
I for one, find myself fighting life more than I find myself fighting death!! I am not so much in love with life as other people are. I mean, in happy moments, like when I am kitesurfing in perfect conditions or when I am surrounded by beautiful nature or loved ones, I love my life! But then there are terrible moments that make me just hate life too. I was watching the movie “127 hours” not too long ago and I thought, “Gush I would have given up so quickly. It would have been such a perfect death. Doing what I love, and falling asleep in the beautiful nature.” No suffering. Sleep and then … whatever there is after.. who knows? I mean, why fight to stay alive? If there is life after death, I wonder if those who have gone before us aren't looking at us laughing their asses off (or just feeling sorry for us) hanging on to dear life, not knowing how wonderful the next phase is. And if there is no life after death, then why not go when things are not that great?! I mean, if you are not having fun at a party you leave, no? Why stay in a life that you are not enjoying?
Don't get me wrong and don't worry about me. I am not going to commit suicide! My curiosity about solving this dilemma while I am alive exceeds my courage to go to the next phase, if you know what I mean. I want to be able to say, I figured it out! Here is the reason why we should live. Which is an answer in itself, “stay alive to figure out why one needs to stay alive!” Now, if that is the purpose of life, the universe has a wicked sense of humor! Plus, I am always curious about what is going to happen tomorrow. New adventures, new experiences, new feelings, growth, these things really give me a reason to live.
So, what makes you happy and your life worth living? We all know money and material possessions do not make you happy. They make your life more comfortable and they make your desires come true faster and more easily, but they don't make you happy (at least beyond $75K a year according to the latest studies). So money is not it. Some say, “giving” and “being of service” make you happy. Some even say that it is the ultimate purpose of life. I get it and I respect it. But the one problem I have with that explanation is that I feel it is a bit of a cop out. I mean, you thought long and hard about the meaning of life, and because you could not find a meaning for “your own” life, you decided to dedicate it to being of service to someone else's life who hasn't figured out a meaning for their life either! You see what I mean?
For now, I remain in nihilistic bewilderment! If you are happy living and never experience a desire to die, good for you. Really, mean it. Good for you! As for me, I swing between various states. Sometimes I get caught up in life and its extremely happy moments and terrible pains. Sometimes I am completely apathetic and indifferent. Sometimes I am in utter amusement over watching myself from a distance living like a character in a play or a player in a game. What is it all for?
When I lived in Iran it was quite normal to complain about life and how everything sucked! When someone asked you how you were, you would say something like “not bad” or “so so”. You would almost never say “very well!” or “great”. (Yes, I am generalizing so if you are an Iranian living in Iran and you usually smile and say, “I am great!”, good for you. But please kindly accept that you are a minority. OK?)
In Iran, if you are always super happy, there is a good chance people will label you as superficial or crazy. They think there must be something wrong with you if you are always happy. We even have an expression for it in Farsi: “alaki khosh”! Surely an empathetic and profound human being would be suffering, sad, and in pain because of all the pain, suffering and injustice in this world. Wouldn't they? I think this attitude -other than having empathy- is due to the fact that modesty is a big virtue in Iranian culture. The same way that it is not polite to brag about your money or status, it is not cool to brag about how great you feel either. So people modestly say, “I am OK. Thanks to Allah”!
When I moved to Canada I was surprised by how uncool it was to say something short of “very well” or “great” in response to someone asking you how you were. I liked the fact that people were positive and that it was a “value” to be happy. I never liked complaining and focusing on the negative so I really embraced this culture of proudly smiling and saying that you felt great.
Recently though, I have noticed that this is not quite genuine either. Statistics show that the rate of depression worldwide has constantly grown in the last 60 years, especially in younger people, and especially in the more developed countries like US. So, we are certainly not all feeling great! In fact, most of us are feeling pretty blue. Which brings me to my main point. Why aren't we just honest with ourselves and the whole world? I mean, most of us are sometimes happy and sometimes sad. Sometimes things are great, and sometimes they suck. To be perfectly honest and a 100% factual, the glass is half empty and half full. Isn't it? Why do we keep “pretending” that everything is great, or that we are extremely positive people who only see the glass half full?
Researchers say that a higher percentage of those who are active on Facebook are unhappy with their lives, than those who are not active on Facebook. They say the reason is that most people only share positive and happy aspects of their lives on Facebook and seeing those updates makes the viewers unhappy about their own lives by comparison. See? This is almost back firing. By pretending to have amazing lives we are even making ourselves sadder!
To wrap it up, I think we should be honest. Please stop pretending that your life is “not too bad” when you are feeling great, and stop pretending that you are just fabulous, when you are not. As for kids, I still have no idea. In the end, will their cumulative-life-scale dip lower on the “fabulous” side or the “terrible” side? Who knows? And is it worth the risk? I have no idea. Do you?