By Connor Roe, Summer Associate
Our clients are often unhappy people. Not just because they've been charged with a crime, but because they are not feeling satisfied with the life they're living. When we aren't satisfied with life, there's a feeling that nothing matters. When we feel that nothing matters we make bad decisions. We may drink too much. We may act carelessly. Either way we will end up in trouble. Essentially it's General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is caused by excessive stress and results in fatigue, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. Basic unhappiness.
America needs a return to Bohemianism. Bohemianism refers to the lifestyle of nomadic people in the region of Bohemia where the modern day Czech Republic is. The Bohemians lived and acted free of regard for conventional rules and practices. People are unhappy with their lives because they are complacent with the repetition of their daily lives. We will be happier if we take time out of our daily life and go for a walk just to remind ourselves of everything else around us. If we wrote down everything we feel instead of burying our problems with vices there would be less alcoholism and drug use in America. The happiest days of my life have not been going to school or going to work. Not because school and work are bad ( I am very happy to be among the lucky people to have a paying job and to be attending a top notch school next fall), but because they are structured. I can put myself into cruise control and go through the motions. But my happiest days are when I do something completely out of the ordinary like drag myself out of bed to catch a sunrise, or dive into a lake from the top of a cliff, or spend a few days in nature and in solitude.
It amazes me though how people end up in those situations when the cure is so simple and requires no prescription: Take a walk. Go for a swim. Be spontaneous. There is a lifestyle that we should all be adopting, at least on occasion, that will ensure better mental health, happiness, and a renewed love of life. It is called Noveau Bohemianism. This lifestyle brings traditional elements of Bohemianism, such as glamour, art and nonconformity, into contemporary culture. Examples of these noveau bohemians have lived throughout history. Think of Thoreau, Emerson and the transcendentalists in the 1840s. Think artists in Paris from 1880 to the 1920s. Think Kerouac and the beatniks of the 1950s. These people took joy out life's simplest offerings such as nature, coffee, paintings and open roads.
These people thought differently than the rest of the world. They weren't nonconformists for the sake of nonconformity. They strove to set themselves ahead of the pack. They were the tip of the tip of the spear. The one percent of people who will see a problem, such as unhappiness or boredom, and go out of their way to remedy it by searching out all of the simple beauty life has to offer. Jack Kerouac would call these people "the mad ones." In his novel "On the Road" Kerouac wrote, "[They] are the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulously lit roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars."
Another good method for curing common anxieties: bon vivant. French for "good life," it refers to doing everything you usually do, only better. If you are going to hang out with people; surround yourself with good people. If you are going to eat; eat good food. Take the time to prepare something worth eating. If you are listening to music; listen to good music. Find what moves you, songs you can identify with. This all goes back to striving to be the tip of the tip of the spear. The 1% who throw themselves completely into whatever they're doing, whether it be work or relaxation. It will help you to feel better about yourself and, in doing that, you will enjoy life more.