Life is a cabaret.—Fred Ebb

Hey, sad sack!

Yeah, you.

You know something? You’re kinda getting on my nerves.

This whole Eeyore thing? No fun at all.

Do you even know how to have fun? Do you know what brings you joy? Or are you going to trudge through life like it’s a chore?

Stop it.

Life is a cabaret, my friend. A goddam cabaret. So come on. Hurry up. Join the fun.

Oh, I’m sympathetic to depression, tragedy, and hard times. I’ve wrestled with all those things.  But the key word is “wrestled.” I fight back. I fight back hard. And fighting back includes finding joy. Finding it. Not waiting for it.

I’m on a solo road trip this week. Yesterday I was in Nebraska. That’s right. Nebraska. And it was a friggin’ cabaret.

A snapshot: I was exploring on unpaved roads, driving past prairie and cornfields, abandoned barns and tiny graveyards. It was late afternoon, the time of day photographers love because of what they call magic light, which is rich and golden as melted butter. The vast landscape basked in the sun and shifting shadows cast by clouds. The cottonwood trees were brilliant, electric yellow. Cows watched me pass, flocks of small birds startled and darted away over fence and field. I stopped here and there to take photos.

At one point, I pulled over by a cornfield, turned off the car, and rolled down the window to listen to the dry stalks rustle and whisper in the wind. And as I sat there, alone in the middle of not much but cornfields, I realized I could not possibly have been one iota happier.

I know it might not sound like a crazy good time to some people, but for me, it was a total kick.

It was my kind of cabaret.

I love road trips. I love solo road trips. I take them as often as possible because I know how much joy they bring me and I want that feeling. I chase it.

Do you?

Your cabaret doesn’t have to be pills and liquor like Elsie, the happy corpse in the song. (Although antidepressants aren’t a bad choice, if you do need pills. And maybe a glass of good wine in the evening.) The cabaret is whatever you decide it is. Nebraska cornfields or flamenco dancing or gardening or snowboarding or dinner parties or skydiving or … whatever. The cabaret is all that and much more. It’s everything out there in the world, just waiting for you.

If you’re not having fun, at least sometimes, more often than not, then you’re missing the point.

So for god’s sake, stop moping, stop worrying, stop taking life like it’s medicine. Do whatever it takes to join the party. Pick something and do it. Do it fully, with everything you’ve got. Find joy and feel it. You’re wasting time.

Consider this your slap upside the head.

Life is a goddam friggin’ cabaret.

And you know what else? You only go around once.

P.S. Frank Ebb may have written the lyric, but we all know Liza Minnelli actually said it.