Ah, the million dollar question: How to be happy? How to be in a state of contentment and bliss every-single-moment, of every-single-day? For some, it’s a stroll in the park, followed by a Sunday Roast and an afternoon nap. For some, it’s not worrying about money, or food, or a loved one. It could be living the High Life, moving to a big city, or in the stillness of a sunrise, or the fog gently lifting.
But what if, like most of us in our 20’s, you have some money (well, enough for now), you have food, a job you like, a passport to take you anywhere, air in your lungs and a good life. Friends, family, maybe even a partner- you should be happy, right?
I once read that “In a country with more money, bigger houses, greater freedom, better schools, finer healthcare and more unfettered opportunity than anywhere else, of course an abundance of its population would be out of their minds with sorrow.” – Lionel Shriver
Now approaching my mid-20’s, I’m realising that this sorrow isn’t simply a lack of gratitude (although that plays a part) but more of an ache… a tug, that I’m not important. That my life isn’t full. Something is always lacking- romance, peace, sun, adventure, money, friends… meaning.
And that’s it. To be happy and free, we need to live a meaningful life. An inspired life.
But in a world full of prosperity, of talented actors, writers, musicians, and artists, of the most intelligent scientists and psychologists and the most skillful doctors and craftsmen and teachers- am I needed? What more is there to do in the world? Any idea has already been done by someone more successful…
It feels like I can’t find my place.
How can I make my MARK? How can I serve others? How can I find balance? Fulfillment? Joy?
Sure, I’m not unhappy. I love teaching, I love spending my time with children, with our future artists and doctors and engineers and mothers and fathers- they bring light into my life. Living in a peaceful Spanish village does too.
So then what happens? I feel guilty for not being happy. Guilt for the mornings slept away, for weekends watching Netflix. Guilt for floating through my days and forgetting about NOW.
The time is flying by and I don’t want to regret anything. I need to feel like I’m on a journey (other than the inevitable journey to the grave!).
So 2017 for me is going to be a year where I really look at myself, learn about myself and try to make something. Try to be instead of simply floating through. Seek happiness through self-realisation. What am I? Who am I? How do I want my 20’s to pan out? What do I want to be doing in my 30s? My whole future relies on how I spend today.
It’s going to take a kick up the backside, but do you know what? I think you don’t just become happy. You don’t just get the job you want or more money or a soulmate and then ta-da, you’re happy. We’ve all tried that.
No, I think happiness is in the pursuit itself.
It’s not the end goal. It’s in doing. In working towards something meaningful. In stepping towards who you’d like to be, and what.