I am part of a book club that I've never read any books for or been to any meetings about. I was eager at first, but I didn't enjoy or finish the first book chosen, a book of short stories by famed actor BJ Novak, I found his tone condescending. There was a snowstorm the day of the meeting so I didn't go to it in the end and I ate all the cupcakes I'd prepared for it, myself.
The latest book chosen is one about a "Search for happiness". That's not the exact title, but something along those lines. I put it on hold from the library, and 3 weeks later was told to pick it up. I just got it, and I guess I already missed the meeting for this one, and there's a new book on the go. I guess I'm too disorganized for a book club, or it wasn't meant to be.
Either way, I decided to start reading this book anyway.
But I take issue with books with these titles, and I can't explain why.
So I went into it thinking I wouldn't like it, and so I don't like it. I find it annoying.
Today, I may have figured out why.
I clicked on a CBC article about a UN camp of refugees that are being slaughtered house by house.
A pursuit of happiness, spending time reading a book about finding happiness, while living in an advantaged world feels ridiculous.
Perhaps I have a unique perspective, because I once lost the person I loved more than anything. And so I know there will be more to come, a lifetime of loss of loved ones, that's how this place works.
But not everyone my age has yet felt the pain of losing a loved one, suffered through an illness, gone through a divorce, had a miscarriage. So the search for meaning in this life is still in vain, the search for more than just day-to-day mediocrity. So a book on happiness is nothing more than an attempt to gain some spiritual ground. And that's okay.
But I learned very quickly after losing my love, that my pain is not unique, only a part of being alive. It's shared with every other living animal on the planet, making pain inevitable - and perhaps something that should be embraced. Pain gives you perspective, so you can practice appreciation.