• StevenF

Examination of A Happy Life

First of all, as far as COVID is concerned, Isaias and I are doing okay. I am still negative and have not experienced anything that might be symptomatic of COVID besides a stuffy nose. Isaias has a cough and some sinus congestion, but nothing alarming. We both agreed we could have gone to work last night based on how we feel.

Of course, neither one of us want to infect anybody else (presuming I test positive), so we are both going to stay out of work until at least Thursday. My company's policy is that if I am vaccinated, symptom-free, and without fever for five days, I can go back to work. Isaias' company has a similar policy, apparently.

So thank you for your thoughts and prayers. They are appreciated.

What I wanted to write about today stems from a couple of audiobooks I have listened to. One is about the actors James Stewart and Henry Fonda and another talked of Donald Trump's family life.

As I was listening to the one about Henry Fonda, there was a passage that talked about how his dad was not initially too keen on his son becoming an actor. I'm sure there was a feeling of "acting doesn't make money; you need to get a real job." Eventually, his dad was okay with his career choice, but listening to that passage made me think about how sometimes as human beings, we make choices based on our parents' desires or the religious beliefs we have been raised with or societal pressures. And yet, it seems we only have one life, and if it is not a joyful one, what is the point?

I'm not saying life must be joyful every minute. I don't think that's possible. But I think of Henry Fonda, in this particular instance, and I wonder what kind of life he would have lived if he had caved to the pressure his dad may have put on him to get a "real job." I mean, when one thinks of Henry Fonda, we identify him as a great actor; that's what he is primarily known for. Imagine if he had chosen a different path simply based on his dad's wishes. I'm not saying Henry Fonda couldn't have been happy doing something else or even that he was necessarily happy doing what he ended up doing; I'm simply highlighting the fact that he chose his own path, not his dad's.

And I guess that's why I was thinking of the book I listened to about Donald Trump. I've read several books about his childhood and upbringing, mostly in an effort to understand why he is the way he is. But one of the things that has really been emphasized in those books is what a piece of work Donald Trump's father, Fred was. He was an authoritarian father who, in my opinion, really messed up his sons.

I think about Fred Trump Jr., who wanted to be an airplane pilot. His father expected him to follow in his footsteps and take over his real estate business. He demeaned his son's dreams and manipulated Fred Jr. to the point that eventually Fred Jr. ended up very unhappily working for his father and eventually died of a heart attack at the very young age of 42 due to alcoholic complications. He died a sad man, and much of that was due to his father being unwilling to let Fred Jr. follow his own path.

And here's the thing: often those who try to stop people from finding their own paths, ways, and happiness are doing it because they can't imagine that the path their loved one is attempting to follow will lead them to happiness. It feels inconceivable to them, and often those feelings are the result of their own life experience. If you've been taught your whole life that you have to have a sensible job to succeed and be happy, then if your child makes a choice to go into what feels like an insensible career, of course it would be natural to try and stop them in order to spare them heartache and pain.

Or if you believe being gay is sinful because that's what your religion has taught you, and your child tells you they are gay, then of course you would try to discourage them from pursuing that life if you think it will have negative consequences for them.

But our lives are not our parents' lives, our church's lives, our friend's lives, or anybody else's life. We are the architects of our own lives, and life is too short not to find the things that make us most happy and live our lives according to those precepts.

I was lucky. My parents were always very supportive of my career ambitions. It would have been easy for a parent to say, "Well, that's nice that you love acting so much, but why not do it as a hobby and get a 'real job,'" but my parents were always good about saying, "Okay, if that's what you want to do, we support you. Let's look at the pros and cons and be smart about it, but it's your life—you do you."

I haven't always made a ton of money acting, and there have been times when I have had to use my acting talents in other ways to support myself (case in point with my current job). But I have usually been happy. Isaias and I have a comfortable life. We are not wealthy, but we are certainly not poor either. I actually go to work these days looking forward to my job. I currently make only $18 an hour (which in Vegas is on the lower side), but I tell you this: I am happy.

Same goes with my sexuality. I spent years—YEARS—of my life trying to be a straight Mormon man. That's because I was trying to please everybody else—God, my religion, my family, society, etc.—because I thought that's what I was supposed to do. It was when I finally let go and decided to be who I felt I actually was rather than who I was supposedly supposed to be that I finally became happy. I have never regretted the choice to live my life with Isaias. It is probably the best choice I have ever made regarding my happiness.

Life is too short to live our lives according to others' expectations. I can honestly say that if I were to die today or tomorrow, I will have died a happy man. I will have lived a happy and satisfying life. I really think that counts for something.

Is life always perfect? No, of course not. Do I face challenges just like everybody else? Definitely. Do I have bad days? Most assuredly.

But I have few regrets. And where I am now is pretty awesome. And I think that's worth crowing about.

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