Like .. a never-ending one.
Way back, pre-magic days. I was working my last job, at Heritage resort. I was asked to accompany my boss on a walk through the property. We chatted and walked, then sat beside a lake in a really green place. We were building a lighthouse stage there …
He complimented me on the work I was doing (writing scripts and executing them via live acting and puppets) and praised my efforts as an employee, husband, father, and human. You know that meme where it says that giving me compliments is like trying to put a wrinkled dollar into a vending machine? Yeah .. was then, still is true now.
And then he said something that still echoes in my head: “You have a really great way of reaching people, showing them your heart and loving them, that’s a real gift, but I never see you take much joy in yourself. Where is your happiness?”

Later in my story (couple of decades later) in the midst of an argument my wife accused me of being chronically miserable. She told me I could be happy if I could just act like I used to … find the ‘real me’ that I used to be. “You’ll be happy when you decide to be.”
My friend Andrea reminds me that I still create art for others and … it’s amazing and I’m really good at it. I’m dedicated and I care. All of these things are true.
Yet … I sink into a hole when I walk off stage. I give everything I have and I empty myself. I will get very still and quiet. On the best nights, after the best shows, and almost every single time I’m driving home from the Castle, I weep uncontrollably.
I’ve looked, I’ve meditated, I’ve quested for happiness through several therapists. I’m still sitting here with all this weight pressing down on my shoulders and i still have not recognized joy in myself.
Chronically miserable, though you’d not really know it unless I told you. Unless I foolishly laid out all the words about how painful life is. The persistent loneliness and certainty that I am unworthy. Not capable.

There is art to be made and art can be a forge that turns my grief into sunshine for someone else. So I’ll do the shows with all my might, all my heart.

Even when my heart is just a tiny, bitter, green pill.

1 Comment

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One response to “Quest

  1. Matt

    This resonates with me. A similar endless quest has had me switching jobs, moving between countries, severing ties with good people all in the search for happiness and, well, a lot of the time just any feeling at all. I get depressed and numb when I’m not working or creating but no matter how much I do, it’s always fleeting and never enough. For me, therapy and meditation only helped with dealing with the issues a little but something that has really helped me is increasing my understanding of happiness though philosophy. Many schools of philosophers wrote a lot about what it means to live a good life and how and why people feel happiness and fulfilled – I prefer the old school philosophers who were actually out to help people rather than most modern-day self-help gurus who are out to make money. For me stoicism helped a lot – it feels like it fits me personally and helped my understanding of how I can better view my situation and happiness in the world; a close friend of mine, also on a similar quest, found existentialism felt better to him. For anyone interested in stoicism or philosophy around happiness I’d recommend reading Happy by Derren Brown. I hope it can help you as it did me. Overall please know that you’re not alone in the quest; everybody’s individual quest is different but they can be interleaved through openness and communication

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