I’ve often wondered where I’ve wanted to take this blog. When I started, it was nothing more than an outlet to navigate the chaos in my life. The goals I set were distant and as such I needed not worry about the future. And then the future came and went and here I stand. At a crossroads. I suppose we’re always at a crossroads; and each choice we make, we are pushed further in one direction.
It’s been a bit since I’ve written and as I work towards producing more content, I find myself at a loss. I come home, exhausted from work and my go to is video games. I spent 5 years in College constantly improving my skills and I find myself more often than not wishing I was there, not here. A different time, a different place.
By the time I was graduating, my standard of living was wonderful. I wasn’t rich by any means, however, I was happy. And like a ghost, this is what remains. My sanctuary among a world that when it becomes certain, becomes rather dull.
I was always taught that this was the way to live; to make a steady paycheck with a great organization. However, the more I walk, the more it feels as if I’m being dragged through the sand. So I’ve pulled out the jumper cables and try to feel for a beating heart and sure enough, I can hear faint echoes.
My life needs lightning and I am comfortable with saying that I have failed myself. I have come to terms with mediocrity becoming “good enough” and excellence a pipe dream. And I am comfortable with saying that I am not satisfied, that I hunger for more. I miss the articles I used to write, my “learn and apply” method. Deep, thoughtful, and engaging.
It’s been interesting to see this article develop. I started writing this a few months ago; gutted the draft and then stopped. In an update to my “happiness equation” I’ve started making changes just this last week. I am juggling the old with the new and it is no longer enough to adapt, I am beginning to modify. Imagine your life as a canvas and since the world is far from perfect, imagine each moment being painted with broad strokes. What you once saw as imperfection you are now going over with fine strokes and precision brushes; the broad strokes are still there but the painting takes on new life and a completely different form.
I’ve started taking pride in my work and while I was initially opposed to subjecting myself to anymore grit in my life, I have now begun to embrace grit. I used to think I had enough grit for a few lifetimes over, however, working at a call center for the last 7 or 8 months has quickly changed that, My skin is thicker and that’s not a bad thing. Most of the time I thought I was stuck but after taking time to look back, I can see how much I’ve grown on an individual level. I used to think the growth was turning me into something I didn’t want to be but I realize it has turned me in what I need to be. I have the confidence now to tackle problems head on and finding myself run less and less. I have ran my entire life and only now realize that I do not trudge through the mud out of weakness but rather to gain strength.
It does not matter where I’m going, so long as I’m moving forward. As far as my goals for the year, I’m excited. I’ve been walking everyday and hope to begin intensive exercise soon. I have scheduled PTO and am thinking of camping for my first vacation. The money I’ve saved in the last 8 months has put a smile on my face and I finally have the means to start moving forward with my life.
I had an interview for a promotion the other day and that was a perfect time for me to reflect. I mostly talked in regards to my college experience and realized that was almost 2 years ago and most of the situations I referenced were around 4 or 5 years. I was hesitant to reference my current work experience, because, as much as I hate to admit, not quite the resume builder I had hoped. How do you quantify excellent customer service after a center point and how do you illustrate a portfolio with no projects under your belt? The response then becomes, by default, “I did my job and I did it well” or the equivalent of saying “it was just a job.” I chose to focus on personal growth in the interview, but it did make me think about my future and where I want it to go.
My main takeaway is that I am an acting again in my life and every situation I find myself in, is ultimately, when boiled down, a choice. I must receive some perceived benefit for myself and if I’m not, then the cost will ultimately lead me to other opportunities. The issue I think most people struggle with, then, is quantifying the cost-benefit. If a situation is neither good nor bad but simply is, you could, in theory, spend a lifetime being miserable. And perhaps, the equation is not so much in avoiding the bad but rather understanding that “happiness” lies in the highest highs and the lowest lows. When life sucker punches us and we’re able to stand, is that not a piece of the “happiness equation”?
In addition, how could we possibly appreciate when life is good without first knowing what we don’t enjoy. Yes, perhaps for some they have only ever been blessed with good fortune, but life has a way of eroding our best laid plans and I’d rather have a gradual build towards greatness than to have that given. We need to know how to manage the highs when we’re in them and temper the lows when we eventually fall.
Happiness does not simply lie in shifting your perspective. One can change ones mindset and while this helps for a while, if a person is not living to their full potential, then “good enough” is not simply “good enough”.
A prominent aspect of happiness is time. We’re constantly telling ourselves “if I had more time…” and once we find the time, we end up wasting it. But then the question becomes, was it truly a waste?
A prominent aspect of happiness is money. Yet once we acquire wealth, we keep working and acquire more and more. For some reason, the wealthiest among us are the most miserable.
We try to find meaning in our work and we work ourselves to death. 90% of the people who work won’t stop and what I’ve seen is work become all-consuming, as if their soul is slowly leaving their body until they are a husk sitting in a cubicle, with their skeletal remains grinning in what one might make out to be a smile. I however, opted for PTO.
So then, what is happiness?
The truth is, I don’t know. Happiness is a speculation, a pursuit. Almost everyone I’ve met has their own answer and those who can’t articulate why they’re happy are perhaps the wisest among us all. Happiness is a jumbled mess and is pathos at it’s finest. To truly smile and live, that is a feat; one our economists didn’t think of measuring when they designed our society. Happiness is beautiful, happiness is fleeting, and if you have it, then hold on and be brave enough to let go. For nothing last forever and it’s best to adapt and keep moving.
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That’s it for the article. With that said, what is your “happiness equation”? What makes you happy and what has your search looked like? Do you agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments below!