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Burdens of Life

There is no happiness in life

Today is my 27th birthday, and believe it or not, people around me seem to be making a much bigger deal out of it than I do. As you might have guessed while reading this website, I’m a little different. You can also use the word “strange” if you want to. I don’t like celebrating my birthdays. In fact, I don’t understand why people do. Why would you want to celebrate getting older? It’s like people don’t realize the disadvantages that come with becoming older. If you ask me, you can only justify celebrating birthdays when you’re not 21 yet and you can look forward to becoming an adult. After that there’s no advantage in getting older. Celebrating the fact that you got one year closer to your natural death and the period of being able to enjoy life with various disabilities doesn’t make sense to me.

But let’s leave the advantages or disadvantages of getting older for a moment. What also amazes me is that people can just temporarily forget all the bad things happening in their lives, with their family, around them, in their country and on this planet, to celebrate and pretend to be happy for a few hours. I honestly can’t do that. Life is just full of problems. And at any given moment you can unexpectedly get confronted with even more problems. How can you ever be happy when you have to live with the fact that at any given moment you can lose someone in your family? How can you live with the certainty that one day you’ll be burying your parents? You can never be truly happy in life when you sit down and realize these things. Not unless you’re willing to turn a blind eye to a lot of things happening with and around you.

It’s like playing an ostrich. The ostrich likes to pretend that by just sticking his head into a hole in the ground while the rest of his body is visible he is hiding and that nobody can see him, because he can’t see anything either. You can see how naive that is. I can’t be an ostrich. I can’t pretend that certain issues don’t exist, not even for a while. I can’t do that because I don’t like to fool myself. I can’t selectively forget about things for a few hours or a day and pretend all is nice and well. To me, it doesn’t make sense to do that. Once you’re done pretending to be happy and done partying, you’ll get confronted with the same problems again, and are going to have to deal with them one way or the other. Pretending to be happy for a while doesn’t solve anything.

Knowing the tons of problems that you will get confronted with in life in the future, in my opinion, you can’t possibly ever be happy. If you just look around you, you can’t be happy. If you look at the news, you can’t be happy. There’s too much pain and suffering in life. Pain and suffering almost seem to be the purpose of life. You get born with the knowledge that you’ll die. You get born with the knowledge that you’ll certainly lose the people and the things you love. You basically get born with the knowledge that you’ll suffer one way or the other. There will always be something. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

So does happiness really exist?


  1. Karel Donk » Archive » Always focus on the negative things in life (05/02/2006)
  2. Karel Donk » Archive » A World of Pain (25/01/2008)
  3. Karel Donk » Blog Archive » 30 Years and Counting (18/10/2008)
  4. Karel Donk’s Blog » Blog Archive » Shiny Happy People (25/12/2009)


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