What John Mayer Said

July 29th 2010

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I remember being at the grocery store when she asked me.

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I remember, jamming out iPod style in the produce section, serenading the avocados and questionable eggplant to old school N’Sync

When suddenly.

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My pants vibrated with a phone call. It was my sister. She said.

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“Hey! I’ve got 2 extra tickets to the John Mayer concert this weekend. Wanna go? Bring a friend?”

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I remember totally playing it cool by the on-sale zucchini

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Sure. I'll come.

YEAH OKAY I’LL COME.

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And  instantaneously recruiting my amiga Charlotte to join.

Let's do the damn thing, Charlotte!

Let’s do the damn thing, Charlotte.

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And embarking on a 3 man date with our two kick ass selves, and 1 pint sized sister.

Jk. She's taller than me.

Jk. She’s taller than me.

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And it was kind of incredible. Even if we were far away.

Go long, John!

Go long, John!

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It was dreamy July evening spent laying on the dew-filled grass as we closed our eyes and felt the aftermath of the AM showers drizzle in our hair and on our faces – as we listened to the man jam the fuck out.

Look at you. Jammin out and shit.

Look at you. Jammin out and shit.

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And shortly after, we did too.

On the same level, no doubt.

Preach John, Preach!

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3 Zumba steps away from  being discovered.

3 Zumba steps away from being really fucking famous.

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And in between each ballad and each hit, I remember looking out on the human-drenched lawn. The horizon completely littered with enamored fans.

4616_86216981684_7257919_n

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The air, laced and mixed with potent relaxation and the sweet aroma of summer greens. With every voice that echoed from the lawn or from the stands,  either being lyrics or sheer admiration. Some people came by choice. And some simply didn’t. Some clapped after every song. And some just didn’t feel the need to.

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But there was one thing. That every different person did. All the same.

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About 45 minutes into the show, John struck the last strum of his latest single “Half  Of  My Heart.” And after wiping his forehead, taking a swig of his water, and patting his fellow bandmates on the back, he looked out into the crowd and requested that everyone quiet down, please. Only for a second. He…he had something to say…and he wanted everyone to hear it. He approached >>>> the microphone. The camera’s zoomed in on his exhausted face. Brown curls overlapping his headband, tattoos glowing for every camera, phone, and camera-phone to see.

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Hey.

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And then everyone at the same time got quiet.

When he said

“You know…there are times when it’s awesome to be me..and times where it sucks to be me. Times where…I really just want to disappear. And the thing is, you probably look at me and think that I’m a person who has it all.

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A bigger house

More money

A happier life

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…And you know, I probably do have

A bigger house

More money

And a seemingly happier life

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But I’ll tell you what.

Every day I pass this house. And it’s small. Very small. But it’s a house that has a husband and a wife. And  I know that because they kiss each other every day outside his car before he goes to work. And I bet you anything, he’s never cheated on her. And she’s never cheated on him. And you know what else? I bet if they were really to stand there and think about it, they could genuinely stand in front of a house like mine. Point >>> to it and say,

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‘I am happier than you.’

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…And you know what else? I find a really strange happiness when I think about if, by chance, this small house were to ever burn down. But I only get happy because I really think that if it were to happen?

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They wouldn’t have lost the things they really needed, or things they really wanted, or what they define themselves by.

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Trophies, awards and expensive things.

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Because the only irreplaceable thing? Is standing right next to them.

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And I’m not so sure I could say the same for the big house.

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II He paused II

Took another swig of his water. Another run through his hair.

And continued >

…You know, I may not ever be as epic as the Rolling Stones.

All I really want is to be good enough to be happy.

And if you’re wondering where the Rolling Stones are now? They’re fucked up and delusioned. And I really think that I’m happier than they are. The problem I’ve kind of realized through doing what I do and being where I am, is noticing that people think that

Bigger things mean bigger happiness

When really,

You’re probably already happier than most people.

You assume that the rich and the famous are happier than you. But what you’d probably never assume, and you’d probably never know, is that many times we look at you and really envy your private, undisturbed, unanalyzed happiness. And for as lucky as you think we are. We think you’re just as lucky too. If not more lucky.”

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And then he serenaded the silence with another song. A throwback. One he knew everyone would love. And one that everyone did.

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Elated

Later that night when everyone cleared out of the lawn.             by the encore. High off of good company, good music and good drugs. They jingled their keys to the parking lot. And put their cars in drive.  And I remember doing the same.

And thinking about what John said.

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How I really did have that envy and that self-created vacancy he told me I had.

How.

The beautiful blonde who sat across from me in math class felt like the epitome of everything a man could ever want or could ever physically desire. She was the eye candy of every party and every group project. And I guess it wasn’t until I overheard a group of men talking one night at a pre-game saying that “She was a big bitch. And if she didn’t have her body, she wouldn’t have much.” That I realized, the thing I envied, wasn’t necessarily her looks, but rather what she got out of them. And as it turns out, she didn’t really get much.

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How.

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I went to lunch with a friend the other day. And I remember telling this friend that he had really made it! Really, he had. Big company. Big city. Big paycheck. “And I’m over here just eating Ramen!” And I remember he told me that he really did like his company. And he really did like his paycheck. And he was sure the city was great. But, he wasn’t really sure. Because he was working every day. All the time. Trading in “desired success” for any personal success. And he would do this, at least for a little while.  Because he knows a lot of people would kill to be where he was.

But.

Eating dinner at his desk every night wasn’t always so fun. And paying over $1,500 a month to have an apartment that he only ever slept at. Didn’t make him feel as happy as he thought he would. That sometimes he wishes he could trade places with the struggling barista who got off at 4pm. Just for a little bit. So he could spend some time remembering what it felt like to do something that wasn’t fueled by money, and wasn’t fueled by expectation.

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How.

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The other day when I went to a photoshoot for my job. There was a model there. And her name was Amanda. And she posed for every picture and she smiled with incredible grace. She’d walked runway shows in Milan and signed contracts with the biggest ones you could ever think of. And I remember when we took our lunch break that day. And she ordered a salad and I got one too. And she told me about this one time she moved to Paris to be a part of this show. And in that time she got diagnosed with a nutritional disorder. She was so skinny because…well because her body wouldn’t retain the nutrients she needed and…because of that it made her hair fall out…and because of that she…she didn’t have any hair.

She was a model and she didn’t have any hair.

Can you believe it? The show was coming up. And she would get fired. Her job was to be beautiful, after all. And she begged a local stylist for help. To make her a wig that would never give away her secret. Her disease. And they put her in a chair for 8 hours. And she paid them $6,000. And they made it happen. They made her a wig. And the modeling company never knew. Because if she was anything less than beautiful,

If only for a second

She’s not entirely sure she’d still have the jobs she has today.

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And I guess it that moment I realized, being paid/expected to be beautiful, famous and flawless? Every day? All the time? Didn’t seem so glamorous afterall.

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But more importantly realizing.

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That where I was? And what I was doing? And what I looked like?

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Was a lot more desired than I thought it was.

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How we all kind of exchange silent envy about each other. Every day. All the time.

And wondering why it’s so difficult to ever look at your own self and say.

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“I’m a very happy. And very lucky individual. And the quality of what I have isn’t measured by how many people want who I’m dating, or how much money I make, what kind of job I have, and what kind of job I don’t have.”

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Because really.

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The only person’s opinion who can really measure the quality of those things.

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Is you.

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And no one else.

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And how satisfied and proud you choose to feel about those things? Are your choice as well.

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So thanks, John.

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For reminding me that

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Happiness is defined internally, never externally.

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And once you’ve defined it? Or you’ve realized it? And you’re okay with it? And you’ve got it?

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Well, not a single soul in the world can buy that from you.

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35 responses

  1. But more importantly, thank you Olive, for taking a thing that Jon Mayer said and what a model said and what a sucessful friend said and reminding me that I don’t need all the fame, and wealth and expectations to be happy. I hope that I can just be happy writing and having a job and wife and kids that love me, despite all my flaws. They are what make me happy.

    • Hey Ben. Absolutely 100%. It’s so easy to get lost in the definition of happiness, especially in today’s world. But, the ingredients to having a happy life are so different for everyone. And if you realize what those are? And you have those things? And it’s what you want? Then you are exactly where you need to be. And probably even where some people hope to be one day. (:

    • I was just really inspired by not only what was said, but who said it. Only because hearing it from someone who is saying it from an “ideal” place, made the message seem more real. Thanks for reading!

  2. You are my favorite blogger Olive… You never fail to inspire me. Thanks for making me realize that happiness doesn’t depend on money or fame. From one year I saw my friends earning money, saw them going abroad to study with their parent’s money while I was struggling to get into a college in my own country. I saw girls with flawless skin while I struggled to get an acne free face. I always thought that I was an average girl. But now I’ve realized that being average isn’t so bad. May be what is average for me is out of reach for many people out there. I am happy today because whatever I’ve today is earned by me, I’ve got it all by my hard work. And this is what I was destined to have. I may not be perfect but I am happy.

    • Hey!

      That really means so much to me. I know exactly what you mean (clearly haha). It’s easy to envy the inevtiable and to wish for something that seems more ideal, but you said it perfectly “Maybe what is average for me is out of reach for many people out there.” Realizing that, appreciating that, and respecting that is such a worthwhile favor you can do for yourself. And I am proud of you for that (:

      • I haven’t accepted it completely but I am learning, to accept life, destiny and be happy with what I’ve. I am less miserable than I was a year ago. But it’ll take some more time to be fully comfortable about being me.

        You are really awesome Olive. I always wait for your posts. Keep writing and inspiring me. 🙂

      • Absolutely. These things definitely take time. But the best part about that is, it’s so worth it in the end (:

        YOU are awesome. I’m honored to have such high-quality followers (:

  3. OMG. First of all,thank you so much for writing this. I LOVE JOHN MAYER. LIKE,LOVE JOHN MAYER. I’m going to his concert in a few weeks and this is just making me SO EXCITED!!! And secondly,thanks for being such a great writer. I needed to hear this (I mean,we all know it,but to hear it is different). I struggle with this when it comes to my appearance and those of my friends. I don’t ever stop to think that they may be thinking the same thing as me.

    Just lovely,lovely writing! 🙂

    • Hey!

      You will absolutely love John Mayer. I can guarantee it!!! And thank you so much, that really does mean so much to me. Thank YOU for reading. And I’m happy that we can agree together that “the grass is greener” philosophy is a guilty pastime of both people on either side of the field. Enjoy the concert, let me know how it is (:

  4. Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for reminding us all. Just last night I was tossing and turning and thinking of a blog post I was going to call “When Everything is Never Enough” about my insatiable appetite for complaining about how I’m not good enough. You hit the nail on the head with this one. THANK YOU! 🙂

    • I LOVE that idea. What a great title too! Thank you so much for reading, agreeing and appreciating my work. I love that we’re able to relate on such an awesome level. Can’t wait to read what you come up with (:

      On Mon, Jul 1, 2013 at 2:35 PM, olivethepeop

  5. Amazing! Your posts always have me SO captured.

    I had a much lower scale, but similar experience yesterday. I went to visit a man whose speech I studied for my dissertation. He had had a stroke about 4 years ago. Listening to his utter thirst for life, and his determination to get up and go every morning – despite the fact that doctors told him that he would never walk or talk again – is SO inspiring. You make your own happiness and can’t compare your life to anyone else’s.
    As I was telling him about my life and my job and my art, he said to me “gosh you really do have a LOT going for you don’t you!” and I thought… “oh yeah, I guess I do.” It’s not until someone else points it out that you sit back and appreciate the positives!

    • Hey!

      Thank you so much for you compliments, and for sharing YOUR story! Don’t you just love conversations like that? People like that are so incredible to meet. And they are the perfect excuse to give yourself credit for all the incredible things that you do, because being your own fan can be so hard sometimes! I’m really glad you got the appreciation you deserved. (:

  6. Who would have thought John Mayer would be giving out such words of wisdom. I entirely agree with this and try to make sure I remind myself of the things I have an am grateful for and the life I am living.

  7. Who wouldn’t have thought of John mayer saying something like this. that these words came from his mouth doesn’t surprise me in the least. I’m really glad he said them, and that you shared them with us, Olive. Thanks so much! Happiness is love. A fire cannot destroy love. Even a wildfire!

  8. I’m not sure what you made you decide to write about this today, but this was a great story to read. Very well written and very heartwarming. Definitely worthy of a reblog. Great job, Olive. Keep inspiring!

    • Hey! Thanks so much. Honestly I just flipping through pages of my old journals last night and stumbled across this one I wrote about 3 years ago and it totally brought a wave of nostalgia I decided to write about and share. So thank you for writing this, and sharing my work. You’re awesome (: Thank YOU for inspiring me!

  9. Hello! This is without a doubt the most inspiring and life changing post I have ever read! So thank you oh so much!! I am a huge of fan of John Mayer and that is how I found your post. But especially your commentary has really left a mark on me. You have opened my eyes to things I have never even thought about. I have always looked up to celebrities and thought, “Why can’t I be them?” I never even thought about the lack of privacy and normalcy that comes with that lifestyle. Sometimes living our calm and peaceful lives is the greatest gift we could be blessed with! Thanks again for the awesome post, I am definitely following you! Have a great day!

    • Hey!

      Wow. I am so happy to hear that this post had such an impact on you. It’s really awesome to share my own experiences and really draw others into such a universal message. It’s true. Your friends could tell you this. Your family could tell you this. But when it comes from the source itself? It all of a sudden becomes much more believable. I think we’re all incredibly blessed in a lot of ways. Our blessings are just a little less publicized than others (:

  10. Pingback: Hot Summer Days – Lead.Learn.Live.

  11. Pingback: The People | olivethepeople

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