“Happiness only real when shared”… That’s what Christopher McCandless wrote before his death in the Alaskan wilderness at the age of 24. He died due to starvation.
If you don’t know his story, watch ‘Into The Wild’ movie, or read this article on NYTimes Adventures of Alexander Supertramp.
He hitchhiked across the continent for two years before ending up in a makeshift van in Alaska. He gave up his family riches and a possible bright future. Away from world’s materialistic scope, in a more subtle term, he was looking for the meaning of life in solitary by trying to kill the “false being within”.
While many find his story moving and fascinating, for others he still stands as a person who was naively unequipped and unplanned to survive the wilderness.
Indeed, one can debate on the ideas and decisions that of McCandless. And sure it’s not fit for anyone to romanticize his views on life. He was, after all, just in his early 20s, with the best part of his life still remaining.
However, this particular quote from him eerily intrigues me.
“Happiness (is) only real when shared”.
It isn’t a philosophical kick from a 20-something kid who, bored out of his mind, decides to be pseudo-intellect and shit on the world with pretentious quotes.
It comes from a person who likely sees his impending death very close. He’s weak, he’s alone, he’s tired, and he’s hungry. In such a desperate time, it could perhaps be his epiphany.
It could be his moment of revelation about what life’s really about.
It could be something that a dying person in solitary realizes that the rest in the crowd do not understand.
It could be true…
Happiness is only real when shared.
It sounds charming.
But it’s also scary for a person like me who personally finds self-sufficiency and seclusion as the fundamental preference of life. For someone who loves living alone and finding happiness within, the quote comes in direct contradiction.
What if Christopher McCandless is right?
If he is, what if I never find people to share my happiness with?
What if I am never really happy?
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