“It’s all messy: The hair. The bed. The words. The heart. Life…” ~William Leal
Sometimes this is how life feels—messy. We want everything in order, in place, fixed, neat, perfect. I get this in moments, but overall life seems to trend much more toward messy. It’s nature. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that there is a natural tendency of any isolated system to degenerate into a more disordered state. In other words, entropy naturally increases unless there are outside influences that restore or re-balance the system.
If we apply thermodynamics to our very illogical, emotional human lives, those outside influences are critical to prevent the systems of our lives from disintegrating. Friends, family members, passion projects, exercise, eating well, hobbies, art, books, spending time outside. All of these forces help to re-balance our messy lives. They help us restore some sense of order, peace, and equilibrium. Life will always tend to entropy. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help to put it back together. We can only fight entropy together.
There are two kinds of happiness: the one that comes from instant gratification and the one that comes from the slow slog toward a desired goal. The first makes us happy in the here and now, but it usually doesn’t last long. The second makes us happy when viewed through the arc of life but in the here and now can be difficult and uncomfortable. I’ve found that I need a good balance of both to truly feel good about life.
Art, music, good food, time with my friends, my dog, and working out are all things that make me immediately happy. Writing, working on my entrepreneurial ideas, and learning something new that I’m not yet particularly good at fall into that second bucket. It’s not that I don’t get any joy from them in the near-term; it’s just that to feel truly happy about them I need to look at them through a longer lens and with a goal in mind.
Knowing about this balance helps me figure out how to allocate my time, effort, and energy to be happy at this moment and to ensure I’m happy down the line, too.