Worse things happen at sea - having a crack with William McInnes - Happy + Well : Happy + Well

Worse things happen at sea – having a crack with William McInnes

Written by on April 2, 2016 in Happiness with 1 Comment

William-McInnesDo you want to be successful or have fun? Do you want to achieve or be happy? If you want to be happy you’re in the wrong place.” These were the words of William McInnes’s high school sports coach. He quit after a few games.

He tells us about a time he went to a hairdresser to get a haircut after his math teacher sent him home with a note, reprimanding him for his long hair. His crush on the hairdresser led him to consent to getting a perm which almost caused his dad to fall out of a banana tree.

Another time he came home with a shaved head. “Jesus Christ!” said his mother. “That’s a man’s haircut,” said his dad. There’s a glass half full and a glass half empty way of looking at life.

I’ve had a very fortunate life,” William says. However, as he gets older, he find himself walking into churches and lighting candles in remembrance of people. “More and more candles”.

Life takes bits and pieces of you. Life can be a disappointment,” William says. Some dreams don’t come true. Like his dream of becoming the world’s best actor, which he let go of after three weeks of acting school.

William tells us about his life. He met a wonderful woman who became his wife, they had beautiful children. “One stillborn,” he said. “That was awful.” But the look of love on his wife’s face when she saw their son is something he will never forget.

William says that four days before his wife died, she looked out the window and said, “Look, there’s whales.” It was a beautiful morning, with light streaming through the windows. The whale she saw in their street was, in fact, the rubbish truck. The graceful movements of the truck’s arm picking up rubbish bins almost looked like the movement of a whale’s pectoral fin clearing the water. “Don’t we have clever whales in our street,” she said.

There are some moments that could be a glass half empty moment, but what’s the point? We’re here for such a short moment. The best way to have your glass half full is through your relationships with people.”

William talks about his mother, a strong, sharp women with the heart of a lion. When she was dying, he went to visit her. The Sister at the hospital said, “Your son is here to see you.” His mother said, “Is it the fat one or the stupid one?” The Sister said, “I don’t know.” When she saw William, his mother said, “It was bound to happen, the stupid one’s gotten fat.”

When he saw his mum, who had been such a big hero, dying in bed, she sang a song for him and his family, ‘You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby,’ and did a little shimmy at the end. William loves that she chose to give that moment to them.

He talks about his neighbour, someone who didn’t like him very much, and how as she got older, she became more desperate for human connection. When she moved out, a young couple moved in, and all the contents of her life were thrown into a great, big bin. “You couldn’t help but think, that’s a life.” Listening to the sound of this as he lay in bed, he had a deeply alarming fear about one day not existing. But then he remembered his mum, who listened to this Dean Martin songs when she was down:

Don’t save your kisses, just pass them around
You’ll find my reason is logically sound
Who’s gonna know that you passed them around
A hundred years from today

Why crave a penthouse that’s fit for a queen
You’re nearer heaven on Mother Earth’s green
If you had millions, what would they all mean
A hundred years from today

So laugh and sing, make love the thing
Be happy while you may
There’s always one, beneath the sun
Who’s bound to make you feel that way

The moon is shinin’ and that’s a good sign
Cling to me closer say you’ll be mine
Remember darlin’, we won’t see it shine
A hundred years from today
A hundred years from today

That’s a glass half full song,” William says.

His advice for happiness? “Find someone to share yourself with. That’s the way to go.”

William McInnes, highly acclaimed actor, writer and raconteur presented this at Happiness & Its Causes 2016.

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  1. ines says:

    I really enjoyed your presentation on the happiness conference. It was really funny, honest and right from the heart with a clear message: share the love with someone! Very true!! Thanks

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