Neckties are the Key to Happiness

I think we can all agree that neckties are some of the most absurd pieces of clothing that anyone wears today. It’s made all the more absurd because it’s a standard part of a “traditional” men’s outfit, so we don’t even question it. It’s just expected. But why we take a strangely shaped piece of fabric and wrap it around our necks, letting it dangle loosely along our torso… I’ll never really understand. 

I own a lot of blue neckties. But not this one.

I own a lot of blue neckties. But not this one.

At the same time, I really like neckties. I like wearing them (and wore them at ages when they were both singularly uncool and utterly unnecessary) and I like shopping for them. Someone recently complimented me on my tie and commented that my wife must have picked it out for me. I gently but firmly corrected them; I pick out my own clothing, thank you very much. 

But what the rest of the world thinks about neckties, or my relationship with neckties, is utterly unimportant to me. I wish I could be so blasé about the world’s opinion on lots of other things, but with ties I can safely say that I don’t care. It brings me happiness to shop for, buy, and wear neckties and the rest of the world can deal. This is the key to happiness right here: figure out what you like and go with it; search for those moments of joy no matter how plebeian or unpopular, and revel in it. We have so little time in this world — don’t let others’ opinions drive you crazy. 

It’s an attitude I’ve cultivated around my music writing and composition too. Long before I had the confidence or experience to write a decent rock song, I craved Jewish music that rocked as hard as Pearl Jam, Guns ’n’ Roses, or Green Day. This is who I am — a guy who loves music that’s guitar-driven, rhythmic, and loud. And I love Judaism too. How great would it be, I thought, to bring those two parts of my heart and soul together? 

As I slowly started working on creating my own Jewish rock, I constantly wondered if anyone else out there could possibly be interested in such a niche interest. But I didn’t let that question determine my own feelings or dissuade me from following my heart. Even in the depths of self-doubt — and as a songwriter there was plenty — I always returned to the basic fact that this was something I loved the idea of. 

Not every source of joy will be practical. Not everyone is lucky enough to have money available to spend on their interests. But as long as you’re into it, as long as you can say to yourself, “This makes me happy and has no bearing on what anyone else thinks or does with their life,” then I say go with it.