Maybe I’m just tired … maybe tired of synthetic happiness.

I was going to start a blog called “Kvetching with Karen” ~ it seemed mean.

Oliver Wolf Foster, Photo by @K.ArenHenryMiller

Several articles I’ve read as of late, have been all about the duplicitous nature of happiness. My own included.

Why are we studying happiness? What’s the point of that? When did it take a turn toward shaming or blaming people who aren’t as happy as others?

Happiness …. is BIG business.

I just signed up with edX Harvard to take a course on Happiness. It’s free if you don’t want the certificate and just $99 if you do want the certificate of completion. The rest of the stats out there are easy to google. The state of Pennsylvania made “Pursue Your Happiness” the state logo on their “Welcome to Pennsylvania” sign ~ ironically, the roads on the I-81 in Penn are the worst. IMO. As a traveling nomad, I learned this the hard-on-the-tires way.

Happiness made Harvard and other Ivy’s BIG money. Like … billion dollar industry BIG. The spin off … sort of dangerous to absolutely disastrously BIG.

Writers on Writing Wisdom

When I taught it at a public university in the north east, it was downplayed as a joke course by the other psychology faculty ~ a few were particularly contentious and two of them were actually malignant bullies who did what they could to push the course AND me … out. Serious assholes. Both of them.

Those job secure-tenured professors won. I left. They stayed w/a pay raise and more manipulation toward others. It’s how they live their lives. Making other people miserable. For fun. Who needs that in their lives?

Not me.

I approached teaching by attempting to get students engaged in conversation ~ I didn’t want to ever just spit facts at them w/copy & keynotes. I used odd assignments and small group discussions. I expected experiments the bigger universities were using. Never would I ever just read shit off the overheads/PowerPoints & then scantron test them on memorization.

I was a big fan of Sir Ken Robinson. They had never heard of them. Those watered down jack wagons.

That is not learning OR expanding minds. It’s not teaching people how to critically think or build up emotional intelligence from navigating the dreaded “group projects” which everyone hates except for the Alphas in the room.

I learned about teaching as I was learning. I made some mistakes, then learned from them. I recommended rising professors and their books. People who later on, degraded the honor of the field by being a typical pervy a-hole. That made me mad.

I backed yet another male human who was vastly inappropriate with their female students … only to be ghosted and blacklisted by said fellow because I had the audacity to say publicly, “stop being a dirty pervert and unethical gross human” … ah well.

The kiss of death of my career was not aligning with a “side” like we were playing Survivor.

From Pinterest: Yin Yang

There was a lot about working in an academic office that I wanted nothing to do with. It wasn’t healthy or mature. The way they did business that is.

Leaving was healthy and mature. I chose health over pursuing happiness when there were so many in the field I just didn’t buy into.

Happiness had some academic challenges. The war of the words was something I wanted nothing to do with, but … it happens on every campus all the time. Even now.

It’s crazy town. To this day ~ there are academics who want to be the big cheese, with a whole lot of rats following. Instead of being for the good of the people, they are being … well, delightfully human.

Every group experience has a hierarchy. It’s human nature for some to want to lead while others happily follow.

There is no room in that game of life for those of us who live on the fringe.

Those of us who see it for what it is, end up working for ourselves.

We see the pros and cons of living among the “rat race” ~ a phrase coined in psychological experiments of days gone by, I believe.

Serendipity entertains, yet frustrates the soul.

I used to teach personality theory. My favorite part? The soap opera style of competition among the greatest names in history. We never hear about that part.

Unless of course, it makes it to Drunk History (my favorite Hulu/Comedy Central show).

My existential crisis today is ~ what was it all for?

Why did I pick up teaching when it wasn’t my nature to want to do so?

What did I get out of it? I put so much into it only to be slapped with the reality that no matter where you go or what you do, there are always going to be people there to push back against your personal sense of life satisfaction. Why?

When I went through a terrible, dark time in my life, I held onto happiness, but needed to feel rage.

I watched Fight Club a few times more than I should.

I felt better.

Can’t talk about it though.

That’s the first rule.

It was a movie about …

Wait, the second rule is also …

Can’t talk about it.



I realized a few loops into the Unlearning that I needed to deconstruct my life ~ not self-improve but instead … stop doing all the shit that I hated.

Fight Club, 1999

I turned to and revisited every adventure movie ever made, including those from my youth.

I turned to books, literature and pop culture types.

I turned to releasing my grip on the academic stuff while picking up a paint brush.

The journey of several years of aligning with only those people, places and things that brought me joy, also gave me … ….

A very clear sense that there is no single solitary answer to every human experience.

I do love the light life. The happy-go-lucky pure joy of living in comfort and joy. I also love to kvetch, but do so quietly as possible so not to be gutted as a karen. That’s a whole other novel.

I also lost ~ a lot ~ almost every single thing. A true tragedy actually. What made it worse? While I was suffering, grieving and living in hell ~ the people I didn’t even really know who were extras in the movie of my life, were also maliciously laughing, mocking, belittling, and devaluing me as a human being.

Soccer moms were sent by the devil to bake cup cakes, drive mini vans, sleep with other people’s husbands, then laugh at the person they consider the weakest link.

But I digress.


Sounds like a great novel, doesn’t it?

Oh wait …. it IS a great novel. LOL

Pinterest saved 4th century Chinese Philosopher

The conclusion of my life experience of attempting greatness in the wrong place ~ the wrong profession and the wrong people surrounding me was this.

  1. We have to love ourselves so much that we know we can close that book, and write another one.
  2. Happiness is not the end all. If it were, we wouldn’t be pursuing it. We would already confidently have it.
  3. Living alone, being alone, doing things alone and turning our real-life lives into poetry, means that we are complete people, in need of nothing.
  4. We don’t have to live simple lives, yet … we end up WANTING to live simple lives.
  5. Everything in life is supposed to be easy ~ feel good ~ contented days we look forward to. There is no reason to feel anger, regret, desire, jealousy, worry, or envy.

Life just … is.

When it’s over ~ it’s over. We don’t take all the bogged down conflict with us into our next life. We end the experience, then move on to whatever you believe is next.

Thinking about death woke me up to remember to live.

It IS fun to learn.

It brings me joy.

Fill the hours with seeking the curious.

Learn something new.

Don’t expect anything from anyone.

Talk about your inner fight club.

It may help you.

It will help someone else.

Someone who doesn’t know they’re in fight club.

In peace and exploration,

(c) @happinessnoir @inkhoneypub @K.ArenHenryMiller

I save all my Pin nuggets of wisdom to this page on Pinterest

Published by happinessnoir

Writer | Advocate | Free Range Female | Change Agent | Essayist

2 thoughts on “Maybe I’m just tired … maybe tired of synthetic happiness.

  1. A therapist once recommended I watch Fight Club. I was too busy critiquing her therapy style to do what I was told. Sigh. But you make it sound like a useful experience. I’ll see if Kanopy has it. 🙂


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