It was a regular conversation, one that we would always have at least once a week. We’d catch up about our families and relationships, crack jokes about something we saw on Instagram, make plans to shoot content videos. That’s just what we do. What we never do, though, is say that anything that happened to us made us feel whole, or complete. Happy. It’s now how we’re made. Not how we roll.
Seriously, we could be in the middle of a major career highlight, like when we were traveling year after year to the GRAMMYs and covering Music’s Biggest Night. We’ve had high-highs, like when the site we both wrote for produced an amazing tribute to Mary J. Blige, or when I surprised him for his birthday in Atlanta and when he showed up for my birthday in New Orleans. We’ve lived. No, like really LIVED.
But none of that led to us saying we were happy. It couldn’t. We both live by the philosophy that the “other shoe is about to drop” and that the only thing better than this thing is the next thing. We both keep it moving, lay low and try to do our best work. We show up for others before we show up for ourselves.
During that phone call, which took place last month, we were speaking about what we were up to: he had just started a new job that would stretch him (and pay him well). I was in Los Angeles about to celebrate my lady’s birthday with her and her kids. We were both good. We were both doing things we loved doing. And then he asked the question: Why does it feel wrong to feel happy about all of this? And I couldn’t answer him. I didn’t know. I still don’t know.
I told my lady a few months ago that I’m not sure I know what it means to be happy. I know what it means to be content. To be gainfully employed. To be able to travel and see the world. To show up. To write something that makes an impact. But to be happy? Notsomuch.
Some say it’s money that would do it. Not for me. Not for us. We’ve both had money. Done good things with it. Done not so good things with it. But it never made me happy. It has always served as a means to an end. To survive. To thrive. But happiness was never a part of the equation.
So what would it take to make me happy? Or, per our phone conversation, why does it feel wrong to be happy? To enjoy things? Maybe it’s because I’ve never allowed myself to be that. Maybe it’s because anything I do, I feel like it’s something I should be doing anyway. Or, maybe it’s something I should think about and a goal I should attempt to achieve.
What’s fortunate is that we’re both still around, and hopefully have a chance to make it happen. To experience happiness, however it comes. We’ll discuss that during our next phone call. I promise.
Wish us the best.