Popular culture has blinded millennials (like me) in the search for happiness

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If you’re a young human like me living in the Western world, money is probably on your mind. Why? Because we’ve been mind-fucked (also known as ‘Westernized’) into believing that money = happiness.

Published in ShellsuitZombie’s magazine (Issue 5)

Throughout the wonder years of the 1990’s to the early 2000’s, TV shows like ‘MTV Cribs’, ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’, music artists like 50 Cent and Jay Z have done nothing but sell us hopeless dreams, telling us that money will solve all our problems.

When in reality, is money even the answer? Sure, in a world where we’re forced into being the only species who pay to live here. Yes, we probably do need a bit of money. But my point is, money isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) the answer to happiness.

In the words of ‘Alan Watts’ — a late British-born philosopher — “if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing — which is stupid!” You see, when we invest time into a career that we don’t really like, all we are doing is anchoring ourselves down to lives we don’t want.

The problem is we’ve been conditioned to believe that we have something to lose if we step outside the cultural norms of Western society. But without this false-ideology we’d be able to make decisions based entirely on what we desire, without being tied down by our material possessions or “good career progression and development opportunities”.

It really upsets me when people complain about things like debt and say “the happiest years of your life will be when you’re young — so enjoy them while you can”. In fact, it really makes me want to fly-kick that person in the teeth. Because all that does is pollute my mind with a pessimistic view of my future. Admittedly I’m not planning on becoming a real life 20-something Peter Pan, but I’m also not going to turn a certain age and give up on my life.

Yes, most of us have idealistic aspirations based around the unrealistic reality that has been sold to us through the medium of mega-rich celebrities and success stories on shitty TV shows. And yes, even our school teachers told us that we needed to get good grades to become high-paid doctors and lawyers in order to ever amount to something. But we’ve also forgotten what it means to be happy.

Ask yourself, what makes you happy? And if the answer is different from whatever you are doing with your life, why is that? Why aren’t you taking a risk and moving abroad? Why haven’t you quit your job and started that business idea of yours tucked away under the hypothetical carpet of your mind?

I’m not saying we should all grow dreadlocks and start listening to Jimi Hendrix. But we (including myself) need to stop blaming money for holding us back from pursuing our dreams. We need to undo our monetary-based illusions and stop blinding ourselves with materialism. If we all try to remember who we were, before we were told who we were meant to be, we might actually realize that money isn’t what we’re searching for — it’s happiness instead.

Follow Dave Weatherall on Twitter @_mynameisdave

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