Content

For the first time in my life, I’m content with everything around me.

I fucking hate it.

Happiness

Don’t base your happiness on luck, for you’ll find yourself often disappointed.
Don’t base your happiness on another, for when they are gone you have nothing.

Don’t place your happiness in trust, for words are easily crossed.
Don’t place your happiness in love, for hearts are fragile and scared.

Don’t search for happiness in passions, for those can come and go.
Don’t search for happiness in nature, for seasons come and go.

 

Happiness is a strange topic that I’ve spent a good portion of my life trying to understand.  What is it?  Where does it come from?  How do we achieve it?  Is there one, concrete, generalized formula for acquiring it?

Are “love” and “happiness” synonymous?

When we feel excited for something or someone, is that excitement a measure of our happiness?

I was never able to really figure out, at the bare bones, what that word means.  Lately, I’ve tried to use reverse logic, and find out what happiness isn’t.  This constant empty feeling that I have - is that a lack of happiness?  The fact that I am never, ever satisfied with anything in my life - is that a lack of happiness?  Or my incessant need to be in reciprocated love with someone worth all I have to offer - does that mean I’m unhappy?

While maybe not synonymous, I think love and happiness have a lot in common.

I feel like I’ve spent my entire life searching for something to fill that emptiness, maybe that something is this “happiness” I’ve been so obsessed with finding forever.  Am I the only one who feels this way?  I never wake up and feel content with my life, or good about the things I’ve accomplished.  In a strange way… I almost like it this way.  It pushes me to continue working hard to succeed at whatever I do.  One of my favorite Chinese proverbs states, “Train as if you’ll never achieve your goal, but still with the fear of failing to achieve it.”  I feel like this void in me makes that easy to follow.

Does a lack of happiness feel the same way as a broken heart?

The last year of my life has by far been the best.  I feel like I say that every year of my life, so I don’t know why I’m still so upset.  I guess it’s good because if I ever decided to just lose focus and expect things to take care of themselves, they would be far worse.  What I have learned is that whatever the hell “happiness” means, it’s something that is strictly in the hands of the individual, and not a single external factor can affect it.  Not the weather, not luck, not other people, not money…

Both are similar in the sense that they leave you feeling broken.  But just like anything that’s broken, it can be fixed.  If you truly have the desire to be full again, you can always put yourself back together - piece, by piece, by piece…

Impulse Mondays w/ Alex Vulaj of Solid State Society

Live house/moombahton mix from tonight’s Impulse Live Sessions / Impulse Mondays.  Honestly the best set I think I’ve ever spun in my life :D  Enjoy, and please please please share if you like!

Tonight’s Set

"Hey alex, I had a lot of fun when we went out but I had been previously talking to someone else for a while and when he found out I went out with someone else he asked me not to again because things are getting serious… you’re a really nice guy and it’s nothing personal I’m sorry.”

And this sets the mood for my dark, angry set tonight. Hope you all come out and enjoy it.

Closing Off

My entire life, I’ve met people who are closed off.  ”I was hurt so bad, I could never open up to someone like that again.  I’ll get hurt again.”  I hear variations on this way too often, and it makes me wonder about myself.

I’ve been hurt, but why aren’t I the same way as these people?  Why am I not so closed off and cold like they are?  I’ll admit, I’m a little bitter over certain situations, but I haven’t been this much myself since I was 16 years old.  I’m happy, I’m open, I’m loving, and everything I’ve ever wanted to be successful in is really going my way lately.

I thought about why it’s a bad idea to close off, and about how forcing myself to go out and be open has allowed me to rediscover myself, and be happy with who I am.  To share this with you guys, I’ve summarized my conclusions into two main points.

1.) Closing yourself off is lying down and admitting defeat.
When someone hurts you, and you respond by closing off your entire personality to people, you may as well take away everything you are, hand it to the person who hurt you and say “Here it is, every part of me.  You defeated me and took it all away.”  You give up the bright, happy person that you were at one time (yes you were, shut up) and completely lose yourself.  Not only do you lose yourself, but you start to lose the people around you.  You may be saying “that’s fine, because the ones who care will stay!”  Perfect segue into point #2…

2.) Closing yourself off does not act as a filter that keeps out shitty people.

This can be examined from two perspectives: Finding/keeping “true” friends around, or finding new partners.  Let’s take a look.

2a.) You may think that to some level, keeping people away will show you who your “true friends” are by seeing who sticks around.  This might be true to a small extent, but not even close to as favorable as most people like to think.  What we don’t realize is that going through such a cold, dark phase doesn’t just bring you down, but it weighs equally on the ones who care deeply for you.  In other words, even your truest of close friends can hit a breaking point trying to get you back on your feet.  When they walk away, it isn’t because they don’t care anymore; rather, they’ll walk away because they can’t handle your stress on top of their own.  It’s always important to remember that on some level, everyone is fighting their own battles and dealing with their own problems.  Sometimes there legitimately is no room for your problems too.

2b.) When you’re hurt by a past boyfriend or girlfriend, you may choose to close yourself off for a while, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  Often times, breakups can leave emotional scars that take a while to recover from; however, know your grievance period and move on before your life starts to get away from you.  Some people never do get out of that phase, and they don’t even realize it.  These are the people I primarily see putting up such strong walls, which is really ironic.  They construct these tall, thick fences around themselves thinking “Only a REAL man/woman will fight to get inside.  I don’t deserve anything less than that.”  Not only is this an arrogant attitude that screams “I watch too many romantic comedies,” but it’s completely flawed.  In reality, anybody who actually would be legitimately worth your time will say “Nah, I don’t have time for children” and go about their stable, steady, and comfortable life.  Stop waiting around for your “real” man/woman to pull you out of your hole and save you; people who truly have their life together won’t waste their time.

It’s YOUR job to control your life.  Nobody and nothing else controls your happiness, your success, or your motivations for what you do.  It isn’t, nor should it ever be, anyone else’s job to make you happy.  To blame the failure of any of these things on someone else is simply immaturity, and the main reason you’re being held back.

#speakingFromExperience

Probably my favorite picture from 2012.  A packed room of people getting down to one of my own, original tracks.  2013, please bring me more moments like this surrounded by the people I care about.

Probably my favorite picture from 2012.  A packed room of people getting down to one of my own, original tracks.  2013, please bring me more moments like this surrounded by the people I care about.

Reflection

The last 3-4 months of my life have been completely different from any other part of my life, and I often sit here and wonder if I’m on the right path.

Towards the end of August, I entered a new phase of life.  Finally on my own, I realized that I haven’t been living up to my own expectations; I am completely behind on where I wanted to be along the path of life right now.

Well, at least I thought I was.  I recently changed directions, and shifted everything into a much higher gear.  It took a few weeks, but I realized that somewhere along the path of growing up I veered way too far off the path that I knew would make me happy.  I’ve taken the last few months to heavily evaluate all of this, and remember the things I was going after in the first place.

I first took a look at my life as a whole and the condition that it was in.  I wasn’t happy with all of the people in my life, and knew I was lacking a solid foundation of good people who truly cared about me.  While trying to clean out the negative influences in my life, I lost a great friend or two along the way, and I regret those instances daily.  If any of you are reading, I’m always here and I haven’t gone anywhere; I’m sorry things spun the way they did.

Luckily though, I’ve been fortunate enough to make such solid connections with a handful great people over the last few months.  If any of you are reading this then please know how important you are to me.

I was even blessed enough to meet one or two people who completely changed my life, and I hope to never see them leave my life either.  I’ve learned that when it comes to forming relationships with people, you don’t get too many chances with people this fantastic.  I’ve learned the importance of sparing some of your free time to sit and chat, or grab a cup of coffee with someone you truly care about deep down.  I’ve learned the importance of sometimes throwing everything on the line and going way over the top to let these people know how important they are to you and how much you really do care. These are the people who bring joy to your life, and are worth every single sacrifice you could possibly make for them.

I took the initiative to become far more active in my college activities this year.  Unfortunately, a knee injury back in Spring has still kept me from running and playing soccer as much as I’d like; however, I took this as an opportunity at a new start.  I started to take my studies far more seriously, and got involved in far more projects on campus.  I even decided that I want to pursue a PhD in Astrophysics or Cosmology after I graduate.

I’d say of all of my new endeavors, TAing my Physics 201 lab has to be my absolute favorite.  I’ve always had a thing for helping people in any way I could.  Be it boyfriend/girlfriend issues, the loss of a loved one, or just a wave of depression, I’ve always felt good inside knowing that something I did made someone’s life better in some way.

This same mindset carries over when I teach.  I put in tons of work to make sure that when it’s time to step up and teach, I am fully prepared to provide all of my students with a challenging, yet interesting learning environment.  There is literally nothing that makes me happier inside than the compliments I’ve received from a lot of my students.  Knowing that I helped them understand something a little better, or seeing the joy on their faces when they finally understand a difficult concept… there’s really nothing else quite like it.  I’ve even decided to sacrifice entire evenings a few times just to help kids get a last-minute review session in before a test, and I don’t regret those times at all.  To any of my students that happen to stumble upon this, know that you are important to me, and you help me way more than I help you.

My music has been, by and far, the greatest turn around in my life lately.  I was stuck in a bitter, hateful phase where things weren’t going how I wanted them so I started giving up all together.  I wasn’t playing my saxophone at all outside of Jazz Ensemble, my guitar was collecting dust along with my piano, and I really didn’t care much to DJ anymore.

I sat down and took a long, hard look at my history with music.  Music had always been there for me; hell, I could recall events in my life with songs far better than any photo album of my life could have helped me.  What happened to that part of me?  Where did the passionate, die-hard musician go?

I sat down and looked at all of the songs I had written in the past.  These were my thoughts, my emotions, my everything all compiled into chord progressions and melodies, and I never pursued to have them heard outside of the comfort of my bedroom, spare maybe a small crowd of beach-goers on Cape Cod Bay.  I realized that it wasn’t too late to take these songs and revive them under the new, more experienced “me.”

I worked hard to reignite that flame within me, and I knew that once I did there would be no stopping.  I immediately started to dedicate any free time to writing music again.  Music became what it once was to me: a language that said what I couldn’t say with English, a connection between my listeners that was unattainable any other way, or even something fun to mess around with in my down time - it became my “everything” once again.

So through all of this, I learned that I’m not “behind” in life by any sense of the word.  What I did realize is that up until now, I only had a very vague idea of what kind of life I wanted to live or even what kind of man I wanted to be.  I realized that everything I’m doing now is EXACTLY what makes me happy, and I was wrong to keep searching all over for new and exciting things to make me happy.  It is quite easy to believe that the grass is greener on the other side, but I’ve learned that it’s greenest where you water it.  Now that I’ve started to water the grass, I’m finally seeing a beautiful garden form around me.  I’ve never been happier.