One of my favorite YouTube stars is JennaMarbles. A New York native with a Master's Degree, Jenna Mourey (as she is known offline) worked a variety of odd jobs after graduation before deciding to, in her own words, "be a grown up." For Jenna, that apparently means making videos about how to trick people into thinking you're good looking. Her first video went viral back in 2010, and now she makes enough money to own her own million dollar condo.
Sounds like a dream come true, right? It's always been difficult to make a living doing something you love. But for those of us who finished school right after the big economic collapse, we're doing good just to find a job that puts food on the table without making us want to strangle someone. Yet this 26-year-old manages to make six figures by posting videos about what girls do on the Internet or how she spends an entire day looking at pictures of cats.
Yeah, I might be able to spend a few hours looking at this stuff. (source)
A few weeks ago, Jenna posted her own video version of the popular "draw my life" trend. Near the end if the video, Jenna talked about her job with a tech company that ended badly, as well as a breakup with a long term boyfriend. She candidly confessed that she wasn't entirely sure where her life was going at this point. A couple of weeks later, The New York Times published an article on Jenna, ultimately painting her as a virtual recluse who rarely left her million dollar condo. Clearly being a self-made millionaire, even in an age where most twentysomethings are barely getting by, isn't everything.
We've all heard that money can't buy happiness, but we don't always want to believe it. It's hard to be happy when you're struggling to make enough to pay the rent...but it's also hard when you can afford million dollar condos but not close friends. Sure, money can temporarily make you happy when you get some new object or make enough to pay your rent. But our long term happiness can never be dependent on our bank accounts.
So what does our happiness depend on? It can't depend on outside circumstances; we would find a million little things to weigh us down and upset us. Happiness has to be a conscious choice, an honest effort to focus on the good things we have in life. Whether it's spending five minutes watching a Jenna Marbles video or spending six hours watching the entire fourth season of Bones (not that I've ever done that before...), it really is the little things in life that count.
And now I'm off to watch Jenna rap about how much she hates being a grown up. I can certainly empathize with her on that one.