I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook last night when I saw a post from Shirley Manson that really stuck with me. Mind you, I guess I've been slightly obsessed with her and Garbage for 20 years, but it's funny how the things she has ranted about over that time have closely mirrored my own rants. That makes sense, as she's about three years older than me, so we've grown up in a similar time period. But she got to be a Terminator on TV, so she wins.
In any case, she remarks about how happy she is in her life, that it's exactly what she wants it to be. I can completely relate, but for me, it's certainly not something I've been able to say most of my life. As she reminds us, life has its ups and downs and can change for the worse at any time. She starts to get into the why of it all, how "life changes or devolves." It's with that in mind that I start to wonder if the quality of your life is largely measured by your perspective.
I think about how I described success or an ideal life when I was 21, and it was kind of stupid, or naive, at least. I've noticed younger friends make similar assessments at that age. At the time you think that anything else is just compromise, as if you're not allowed to evolve your perspective. As time passes, and you experience life, ideal changes.
For example, there's a dude that I went to school with who always posts pictures of himself with famous people, and he's always gotten off being around those folks (I believe there was some inherited privilege there, as he was that way in school as well). I started to experience a little of that working in radio at that time too, but it didn't take me long to see how shallow it was, and unfortunately how disappointing famous people were. (If I ever meet Shirley Manson, I hope she's not like that.) So while the dude from school is still posting those photos, I'm posting silly selfies with my kid and my wife, and I feel like that's objectively better. 20-year-old me could never have envisioned this life, but it's awesome. The other dude, well, seems sad and lonely, but maybe he doesn't think he is.
I think Shirley Manson and I are happy because our lives are exactly what we want them to be, whether we ever knew it was what we wanted or not. Life isn't an act of settling or compromise, it's an act of discovery. I didn't know that making software for a living, in Florida, with a little boy and a second wife, were going to be life as I want it. I do know that I choose every day to be happy with this arrangement, because that's my perspective.