A few weeks ago I went to see the band Icona Pop, famous for their song “I love it” that was on HBO’s GIRLS. But don’t even get my started on that show, I hate it because unlike Lena Dunham I actually did struggle through my twenties as some kind of Brooklyn hipster and she didn’t. So as an insider I can tell you her version is a hell of a lot more charmed than my gritty reality. Anyway at the Icona Pop show I was dead sober. It was day 6 of my 21 day detox. And I was surrounded by sweaty people dancing, drinking and eating drugs. When asked to go with my friends to after-hours, I declined. It was a familiar feeling making that decision, one I didn’t like. That whole FOMO thing. Because I knew I would see on Facebook all the fun they had while I was dreaming about losing a tooth and putting it in purple milk till it grew into a thumb. In fact I know them, they had more fun than you did on the funnest day of your life. My friends and I are like fun experts and I’m not even kidding about that. But it got me thinking about a couple of things:
1- Are those Icona Pop girls actually the new Mili-Vanili?
2- Are anthems like “I don’t care, I love it” just another form of denial?
3- Did all the fun I was having mean I was happy?
I still am not sure what spinning some dials on a board and singing along to your own tracks makes you in terms of a “band” but their energy is what was infectious even if their lyrics are pretty vapid. And being moved to dance is an art of it’s own and one I will always admire. I’ll admit this new anthem does make me feel better about my daily rejections, screaming “I don’t care, I love it” can be helpful when we’ve already cried your eyes out and it’s time to get out there and have some good old fashioned fun.
But what I’m starting to realize is it’s a fine line between having lots of fun in your life and being truly happy.
The day after the show while my friends were hungover watching Lifetime movies I took my bike out, rode to the beach and ate some healthy snacks with two other friends on the detox. Nothing crazy happened, we didn’t take any instagram worthy pictures or meet any new people. Instead we talked about the recipes we were using, how religion has caused more wars than any other man made concept, and whether or not cloning is moral. Was this fun? In a different way, yes. Would I have had more fun partying all night, probably. But then I would of had both a moral and physical hangover. What I realized is that I was happier riding my bike back to my apartment after that rendezvous than I was after some of the wildest nights of my life.
It’s taken far longer than it should for me to understand that fun doesn’t equal happiness. Sometimes fun can make us happy. Sometimes we have fun because we are happy. Sometimes the most mundane of things like jumping on the bed can be more fun than a night in Vegas. When I think about the things that make me genuinely happy they include music, friends, laughing, all things that would happen naturally when having a fun night out but often times we trade fun for happiness. Casual Sex is fun. Getting drunk is fun. Driving fast is fun. Eating Cheeseburgers is fun. They are all also very dangerous too. I feel like what too many people, myself included, have defined fun as is just another form of excess that like those Icona Pop songs is just vapid. It’s empty, it’s unfulfilling, and it’s unproductive. Which is great on occasion we all need a release, hell I’m the biggest proponent of going buck wild every now and again.
Only remember to question whether or not all the fun you’re having is actually getting in the way of obtaining the things that would truly make you happy.
In my case a lot of my so-called fun was in fact preventing me from being the person I wanted to be. And a case of FOMO isn’t going to kill you but over doing it could. Am I getting older, duh of course I am. Is this a sign of maturity, maybe.
I’m only seeing more and more that to achieve the the happiness I want I need to be able to appreciate the present and sometimes that’s hard to do when you’ve had too many red wines you can barely see straight.