Sad songs make me happy.

Jarid Altmark
3 min readDec 15, 2022

And so do other paradoxes of life.

For a half a year after I graduated from college I felt uneasy about the uncertainty that followed suit. It’s understandable to be anxious about the unknown sequels in your life, but this didn’t feel like anxiety — a feeling I know well and have made aquaintences with; we’ll never be friends.

I felt an internal tension that lingered for months. I continued to function per usual, and didn’t notice a difference in appetite or sleep. I traveled the world, experienced amazing things with people I love, saw concerts from my favorite arists and carried on having emotional showers — blasting music with colored LED’s matching the mood to the color — listening to my favorite music, most slower tempos, more emotional lyrics, and the occasional Lil’ Wayne or Beyoncé playlist (even melancholic people need to shake their tush every once and while). I’d go for long walks listening to podcasts and audiobooks for hours. Anywhere I could be in silence surrounded by nature with the job of DJ I was there. I continue to find peace in these places, being connected to beautiful and even awe inspiring landscapes grounds me, caring for my light within despite feeling like it was dimmed for quite some time.

I listened to a podcast with Susan Cain, premiering her latest work, Bittersweet. The concept was eye opening and in some ways comforting, but not nearly as comforting as when I read the work in full. It was probably the most real book I’ve ever read in a way that was non-existentially and unflinchingly truthful in it’s approach in discussing the complexities of morality, grief, love, impermanence, a societal expectation of positivity, and creating beauty from pain. With impeccable timing, the series of questions that played through my mind on loop were the titles of chapters in the book. In fact, many chapter titles made me delay reading them due to fear they’d be too honest, yet once I got through them I bookmarked them with a heavy sigh of connection and visibility.

I see no point in regurgitating sections and quotes from the book, but I’d like to share the most important thing I took away from it:

Bittersweetness is inevitable like uncertainty and death of ourselves and loved ones, but holding our pain closely without giving it a breath of…

Jarid Altmark

Artist, Writer, 4x Food Network Competitor, Professional Cake Artist and Practical Overthinker.