I was having a conversation with my best friend a few weeks ago, and the topic of happiness came up.
This whole conversation really got me thinking about the idea of chasing happiness and how we are all so incredibly caught up with the notion of running a rat race trying to get to this ideal Funland where all our dreams come true, where we would have everything we want and we would be HAPPY.
But how much is enough to make us happy?
Especially when we are in our mid to late twenties, we get these niggly, anxious thoughts at the back of our heads. We are constantly worrying if are we doing enough.
Are we achieving enough in our career? Are we having enough savings in our bank accounts? Are we on the right track to finding the perfect partner that is enough to be the person you spend a life with?
We are so convinced that once we have enough, we are going to be truly, truly happy.
And in the meantime, if anything were to come in between our perfectly sketched out plan to get to this place of happiness – we feel dejected, unmotivated or even worse, we turn to other forms of temporary happiness like social media validation, impulsive shopping sprees, mindless partying or even meaningless relationships.
However, if we were to take a step back and focus less on the notion of getting to this perfect place of happiness, but rather, carving out a collection of good days and good moments; isn’t that us already living a happy and contented life?
The concept of chasing this faraway happiness is overrated.
Instead, let us look into shifting our perspectives towards creating a meaningful life that would bring us little joys. Here are some reminders as to why this perspective is so important.
1. Happiness can sometimes be disguised as instant gratification.
When we are chasing for that adrenaline or dopamine fueled high of happiness, we might get caught up in the search of instant gratification – a.k.a temporary solutions to make us feel good as compared to what would be really meaningful to our lives.
Because clocking in the long hours at work might not seem joyful at that moment. Working out even on days we feel drained and tired definitely does not feel like happiness. Having to go through tough arguments with a partner feels far from what happiness looks like.
And yet, these are the important building blocks that make our lives purposeful – and that itself should make you feel contented and proud. That itself is something to be happy about.
2. How you spend your days is how you spend your life.
“I don’t feel very happy”.
We often say this, or we might feel this slightly flatlined or mundane feeling of not being very elated. So we wait. We wait for the next big opportunity at work, we wait for the next travel plan, we wait for the next thrilling experience to make us feel “happy” again.
However, happiness or a good life is not about the big moments. Sure, those are important to give us that boost, but that should be secondary. Happiness or a good life is about the nett positive – and that means your good days surpass your bad ones.
How we spend each and every day will accumulate to how we spend our lives. And if you could just remember that, would you spend your days the way you are spending it now? Or what would you do more or do less to contribute to the life you have? Which brings me to my next point.
3. You have way more control over your day than you would like to admit.
Before we can rant about a bad day, I think it is important for us to establish what makes a good day.
It could be really different for everyone because our priorities are all different. To some, a good day could be a properly planned out one, while to others it could be a day with spaces for spontaneity. Nevertheless, we often underestimate the control we have towards a good day. Sure, there are days where it would be really tough, but we do have a certain control towards increasing the likelihood of having a good day.
If a good morning routine is important to set you up for a good day, then do it. Ensure you have enough sleep so you can wake up with sufficient time to enjoy your mornings just the way you like it.
If connecting to people is what makes a good day, then do it. Incorporate plans or activities that will give you a chance to do so. If finishing your to-do list is what helps you achieve a good day, do all you can to reduce distractions so you can keep your focus to get it all completed. Of course, it is impossible to ensure you have the perfect day. But a good day does not have to be that. Rather, define what makes a good day with what you can control or with simpler things that you can do. Again, a nett positive is all that we need.
And lo and behold, with each good day you have, you are in fact already living a happy life.
So I leave with you this, let us fight against this unrealistic notion of chasing happiness as if its a specific destination. Rather, let us put in the building blocks of crafting a meaningful and joyful life – with each day that we have and in every little thing that we do.
Because when it all comes together, a day would accumulate to a year, and a year would accumulate to a decade and before we know it, it would accumulate to a lifetime. So make it count. And make it good.