The Problem with Happy
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?"
It is a question we’d like to think we know the answer to.
In a world so unwilling to slow down, we’re quick to claim that we have our lives together. To say that we have a steady job, a significant other, a house, a family—to prove that we are headed towards some destination of societal accomplishment. We are so eager to say that we have all of these things, but the one claim we aren’t as willing to make is that we are genuinely happy.
I am working temp jobs, I am single, and I don’t have much to my name other than my story and about seventy pairs of shoes; but yet, here I am, content without all of the things and people that society says I’m supposed to have in order to be happy. It has taken me a long time to realize that happiness is not a reward. Upon this realization, it is easy to spot those who do not find contentment within themselves. It is especially disheartening for me to see people who once were so dedicated to fulfilling their dreams, submit to society's prescription of time.
You can only offer someone as much depth as you are willing to offer yourself. Be honest—rethink your job, your hobbies, and your habits. Have you stopped working towards your goals because you’ve become stuck in a societal trap of conformity? Of convincing yourself that you are happy because you’re supposed to be? You cannot add to the growth and sustainment of friendships/relationships if you stop stimulating your intellect. If you do not feed your passions, your potential is stunted. You become stagnant, stuck in a cycle of discontent- always dependent upon a new possession to emit the happiness which you do not hold within yourself. Instead of being caught up in the timeline of where you're expected to be, slow down and expand. Learn a new language, read a book that is not quite your style, watch the local news. Small steps towards inner-peace contribute to a greater conversation than the material things we cultivate in our lives. Work towards something bigger than what you see, find complexities hidden within seemingly mundane moments. You have a greater purpose in this life than to simply wait for the next step.
Although I am without a steady paycheck, I am committed to my progress. I read. I write. I practice yoga. I go to the gym. I am aware of the world outside of myself. I listen to what my peers have to offer. I am fascinated by other people and their passions, their dreams, their stories.
The people who are most impressive to me are not those who achieve a certain stage of the "American Dream," but the ones who continue moving towards their goals, despite uncertainty and defeat. There is an important distinction between who we are and who we present ourselves to be. I know I cannot depend on a pair of shoes to make me happy, but I can count on them to carry my feet forward into the woman I am striving to become.