by Nazzim Hypolite
On my weekly trip to Grenville for the first week in the year, I crossed path with a friend by the name of Vance, and what he said to me really cemented with me and I just had to share. Important to note is my belief that everything that happens in our life and everyone we encounter is for a reason. As a result, I usually pay attention to the details and the things I may see or things people may mention on a daily basis. Hence the reason why what he said lingered and fermented on my consciousness.
A co-worker and I were having an open, semi-heated conversation about a certain situation that I was currently going through, which he overheard. It was made obvious that he listened attentively to both side before he intervened. He then injected into the conversation and said, “People want you to live your life to please them.” He added, “They’re living their life for them and they want you do the same, so do what makes you happy!” Thank you, Vance.
Though it was pretty straight forward and obviously good advice, I had to think about it some more, because this was undoubtedly the best advice I’ve heard for the year so far. “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” (Mahatma Gandhi). So, at the end of the day it’s really about what makes you happy, what makes you feel at peace, and what satisfies your soul.
This article is about finding your own personal culture, finding what makes you happy, doing that, and living the way you want to. Keep in mind the simple truth, that when you close your eyes at night and you fall asleep, the whole world ceases to exist, and everyone is up doing what makes them happy while you sleep.
I’ve notice that we spend so much time looking at others and what others are doing, that we pattern a part of our life after their ideology and their personal belief. In that process, we give up, lose ourselves, and lose our own unique culture. For example, today’s generation wants to dress like “Kimye” (Kanye + Kim Kardashian), party like Rihanna, and basically live their lives in the limelights of other celebs. Hence, we aim to drive the cars they drive, walk and talk like them, and adapt their cultures, forgetting that what makes them happy may not do the same for us — simply because we’re all DIFFERENT.
According to Anthony Giddens, Culture is “The values, norms, habits and ways of life’s characteristic.” A person’s culture is basically their way of life or how they view their life from looking out their own window. What this means is that they’ve attached to a certain thing or ritual, mostly because culture varies, and the meaning I have for something wouldn’t be the same meaning as yours. However we tend to have a strange way about us, where we become so biased about our culture and way of life, that we begin to believe that our way of life is the best and only way. So, as primitive beings we indulge in our own egotistical self-belief, that we should convert everyone to our cultures and opinions.
The beauty of the Caribbean’s society is the diversity of cultures. The beauty of this world is the mixture of races. We don’t have to like the same music, or have the same beliefs. What makes you happy doesn’t have to make me happy. You might like partying, while I might prefer being home in bed. That doesn’t make me boring, nor does it mean that your life is happier than mine. It just means that I’m content with doing what makes me happy, rather than doing what makes you happy. As a result, this competitive game that we play, where we judge ourselves and others based on our beliefs and perspectives, is completely atrocious.
Oftentimes you may have an idea or a dream, and you gave up on that dream, all because the person you shared that dream with didn’t see it the way you saw it, especially when you know in your heart that this dream that you have would make you happy. But that’s fine. Not everyone is going to see things the way you see it or have the same vision as you. With that being said, I’m not saying to go through life not taking anyone’s advice and that everyone that critique you is a ‘hater’. In fact, I understand that sometime your happiness might cause others theirs. When this occurs, it calls for individual judgement in compromising, i.e. “the big guns.”
When you do what makes you happy, you become independent and you’re no longer depend on external happiness. Better yet, you stop waiting for someone to swoop by to make you happy. Instead, you take life’s bulls by the horns and “Live Life Now!” with the words of Earl Nightingale’s philosophy of “Learning to enjoy every minute of your life. Being happy now. Not waiting for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”