Struggle With The Questions: What Brings Me Joy?
Years ago, I read Sam Keen’s Fire in the Belly: On Being a Man. The book had an indelible impact on my ideas of being a man. Keen said a man “who is a pilgrim, who has lost his way, asks the perennial, mythic questions.” I must struggle with these questions throughout my life. Here are my answers to these perennial questions.
I was ignorant of the source of my joy. I’ve felt happy at numerous moments of my life but I rarely considered why I was joyful; I didn’t understand where it came from and where it went when it wasn't around.
Being oblivious to my joy was a signal to unawareness of my inner world. I did things I thought would bring me delight, skydiving (would do it again), drinking too much Johnnie Walker Red while eating BBQ chips and a Snickers bar, classy to be sure, or speeding down the New Jersey Turnpike on a Tuesday afternoon at 120 miles an hour in a car that had steering problems. I was too dumb to survive, yet I did. Speeding toward joy was the only way I learned to enjoy life.
Not understanding my joy developed into a semi-conscious life of floating with no clear direction or reason. Joy and it's home alluded me and in its place were pleasurable and fleeting distractions preventing me from finding myself. Without understanding who I was, I settled for whoever was left, a thrill-seeking alcohol abuser; a man with no purpose.
Finding joy and the essence of my happiness came from the excitement I felt about thinking, planning, and doing a creative project. Whenever I bought something out from the depths of my heart, I marveled at the discovery and was eager to display it to the world. Finding enjoyment in creating a novelty and expressing myself is the reason I create now. Photos, writing, and designs are fragments of myself slowly being assembled in an attempt to make myself whole. The joy of creating is a life-long existential exercise to declare I exist, I was here. I now realize every act to create is my attempt to exist beyond my body; joy and by extension creating is my attempt at immortality.