Everything is amazing and nobody’s happy

Louis C.K.i 

If you’ve never seen the talk show appearance by Louis C.K. from which the above meme was generated, then go ahead and watch just this four minute clip.

I was reminded of it as I read the following from Baltasar Gracián this morning:

Free yourself from common stupidity. A special kind of good sense. Such stupidity is validated by being widespread and some, who never succumb to one person’s ignorance, can’t escape collective ignorance. It’s common for nobody to be happy with their lot, however good, or to be unhappy with their intellect, however bad. Everyone covets someone else’s good fortune, being unhappy woith their own. Those alive now praise the things of the past, and those living here praise things over there. Everything in the past seems better, and everything distant is more highly valued.

This kind of sentiment runs through many things that have had an influence on my life. For example, there’s a Kings of Convenience song called ‘Singing Softly To Me’ which includes the lyrics:

Things seem so much better when
They’re not part of your close surroundings.
Like words in a letter sent,
Amplified by the distance.
Possibilities and sweeter dreams,
Sights and sounds calling from far away,
Calling from far away.

If there’s one thing life has been teaching me over the past few years, it’s that the grass always seems greener elsewhere. In fact, one of my favourite quotations (from Baudelaire) sums it up perfectly:

This life is a hospital where every patient is possessed with the desire to change beds; one man would like to suffer in front of the stove, and another believes that he would recover his health beside the window.

Learning to be happy with what you’ve got now, while remaining ambitious, is a difficult mindset to master.