He sat relatively still, typing away on his laptop. In between paragraphs, he took deep breaths from the cigarette resting between his lips.
Typing a few words, and then backspacing, and then typing them again, he looked busy even though he hadn’t written many words in the past ten minutes.
He was reflecting on his life, trying to put down in words how he felt at the moment. It was a mixture of ups and downs. Things weren’t going particularly well, and things weren’t going bad. Things were ‘fine’. How are you doing? Oh, just fine. Fine.
Life wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great either.
He was a 29 year old boy with a steady job which paid the bills. He lived with his family, paid a mortgage, a car loan and took care of his ill mother among many other things. Shitty situation? Sure. But it was good as well.
He remembered from a motivator whose talk he attended many years ago – nothing is good or bad until you attach a value to it. Everything is neutral, it’s up to you to decide if it’s positive or negative.
After that talk, he started applying that method of assigning values to any situation in his life. Sure, it sucked he had to be thrust into such a situation at a young age (22 is young, right?). He had responsibilities and debts that his friends his age didn’t have to worry about. He spent a lot of time wishing that he didn’t have to go through what he was going through.
But after pitying himself for long enough, he decided to do something about it. And in doing so, he left his comfort zone. It made him a more mature and responsible person (though he still laughed at childish and tasteless jokes). He grew up faster – and that was a positive thing.
He was a positive guy but when he was feeling down he could be negative as fuck. However, he tried not to be the latter. If he had to, he would usually keep to himself or pen his thoughts down. He always thought he felt better after writing out his negative thoughts. Be it through stories or lyrics – writing was his therapy.
You can be positive or negative when you’re out with your friends. Why would you want to kill the mood and bring them down if you’re upset? Deal with it yourself.
So everywhere he went, he wore a smile on his face. He was called Sunshine Boy by his colleagues. He was known as the happy guy in the group. There were times in his life where he didn’t know if he was truly happy or not.
Smiles don’t have to mean anything. They just make people look more approachable and friendly.
Was he as positive as everyone seemed to think he was?
“You know, I think the saddest people in the world could be clowns,” said his friend to him.
“Why is that?” he asked curiously.
“They paint their faces all the time. Nobody can see how they really feel. On the outside, they look happy. But on the inside, I bet they’re all sad. I feel like that sometimes. Everybody thinks I’m happy when I’m actually not. Sad clown.”
“Is there anything you regret in life?” he asked his mother.
“Nope. I have no regrets at all. I could die tomorrow with a smile on my face,” she replied in between drags of her cigarette.
“Nothing at all? Like, don’t you wish I was a better son?”
“Why do you say such things? Of course not. I’m proud of you, son. And it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what you’re going to do. As long as you’re happy, your mother will be happy too. You only get one chance to live, why worry so much?”
He smiled. Mother seemed to know best.
His debts weren’t going to magically disappear, and his mom wasn’t suddenly going to be as fit as a horse. His work wasn’t going to get easier, and he wasn’t suddenly going to be a maestro at guitar or singing so quitting his job to be a rock star was out of the question. He was turning 30 and hadn’t accomplished anything significant since graduating from school.
At least I have a life. I live comfortably, I eat good food, I play computer games, I have a car to drive. I still have my family. I have my friends. I don’t live in a ditch. I don’t squat by the roadside begging for change. I’m not struggling to cross the road with a walking stick. I can watch movies and listen to my favorite songs. I can play the guitar. I can carry my nephew and make him say words in the cutest way. I have an amazing girlfriend who compliments me in every way. Goddamn, she is wonderful. Life has to be great, right?
An hour had passed since the boy started typing his story. Time sure flies when you get lost in your head.
The boy analyzed what he had written down in the past hour. It was a mess and all over the place. But it helped to see his words in front of him. He summarized it all into one sentence:
Life could always be better, but isn’t that the case with everything?
He chuckled to himself as he lit up another cigarette. He took a drag and shut his laptop.