Utopia - a good place.
It is not a physical place. I have spent so much of my life looking for it. While I will always continue to have my breath taken away by the beautiful places that I have seen, there is more to utopia than melting into those spectacular spaces.
It could be a mental place, perhaps the space where the things that have made me sad no longer exist.
Things that I have said and done. As a thirteen year old, telling a boy who I did not like in school to have a rotten Christmas, the immoral turpitude in my unwavering voice – I still think now how cruel I could be. Cruel that I still am.
Things that have been said and done to me. A partner saying he did not know me and believing he never did in the ten years he persevered with me, in that moment before walking out the door forever – perhaps the most disappointing words ever uttered within my earshot. Cruel that he was.
Is utopia a state of mind?
I have been contemplating (perhaps bogged down in a quagmire might be a more apt explanation) over the last few weeks what can only be described as a series of philosophical questions about what makes me human and fallible.
If I have a bad day, the reality is I cannot pretend to be happy. Try as I might. For people to ask and expect me to find alternative ways (besides withdrawing, not chatting much, or being more blunt than usual) to “deal with it” so that they can remain in denial seems a little unfair to me. The last thing I need when I am not in a happy place is to face pressure from my peers to be a “shiny happy person”. Yet it seems so difficult to ask those peers to respect my desire to walk away occasionally when I feel my own well being is being detrimentally affected. And they say ignorance is bliss.
I pretend that using cognitive behaviour tools like the power of positive thinking will make a difference to what floats around inside my head and most days I get away with the subterfuge – the appearance that I am content with my lot. All that effort is exhausting.
What is natural happiness anyway? Is happiness a pursuit, a choice or something that just happens? Arguably, a lack of choice can be deemed to be a form of happiness. I have actually heard it described as synthetic happiness. But I think “making believe” that you are happy with your lot in life if you have limited choices is self-delusion.
Alcohol induced happiness (which could also be described as synthetic) may be another form of self delusion but can be irresistible for some and, quite frankly, whether it's real or not - elation felt in the moment could be described as happiness.
I don't accept that dissolute restiveness will necessarily allow me to experience some level of euphoria. Although I accept that being out of control can make me feel unhappy afterwards sometimes. People are more prone to melancholy and depression when they lack control.
Yet I actually feel more content when I am surprised and when those surprises are things totally outside my control - when I do not have to make any decisions at all or someone else makes the decisions for me. Maybe some measure of going with the flow - irrespective of the degree of control or choice - makes me feel content because it is easy.
Utopia - the place that cannot be.