Ok, pop quiz. Describe the feeling of happiness with out the word ‘happy’. Take 10 seconds. Go.
Well, how did you do? Any ideas? Well if you are like me you tried a fair number of similar words but realized that they just don’t cut it. Content, mmm, not quite right. Enjoyable, well it describes an action but not the feeling itself. In the end I find it hard to not describe happiness with anything but the word ‘happy’.
Yet what is happiness? Is it a moment in time? A rush of feeling? A state of being? Or can it be all of those things? All good questions. Yet here are some more: is you happiness the same as mine? Or does previous experience limit the amount of happiness you can feel or define? For example, on a 1 to 10 scale let’s say I’m generally a 7. Yet you say you hang out at 5 most of the time. Is that because you had such a good trip on your vacation last week (like a 9) that you normal life seems a lot duller than you thought?
The point is despite all our language and thought we are very poor at knowing what is happiness. It’s a feeling most of us strive to be at, but how to get there and stay there is a completely an unique experience. I can’t tell you how to be happy. I can provide some ideas of what typically makes people happy, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you.
So with that little nugget of wisdom, why do people consistently assume we should all lead some what similar lives? Why do we all need a 9 to 5 job, spouse, two kids and a dog? Do you really need to own a home when you are almost never there beyond sleeping? Do you really need a job making $80,000/year when you only live off $30,000? Would you be happier doing another job and earning less? Do you really need to live in your current country or would you be happier in another?
So despite a desire to be happy, few of us live lives that are unique. We fit our square selves into round holes and wonder why we didn’t become happy there. We live the lives we are told to do and get the stuff we are suppose to and then it doesn’t feel right. So rather than wait until your financially independent or retired, let’s start now. Do something now that makes you happy. It is ok if it takes money or if it is completely irrational. Belly dancing is fine. A painting class is fine. Do what you want.
Why? Because here is the secret. A lot of people are unhappy a lot of the time despite the fact of everything we have. We live the lives we are suppose to and never question if it is all wrong for us. Perhaps we don’t need one way to live but rather millions of ways. So cast off the mold and break it to the thousand pieces. Be yourself and find your own happiness. You don’t need a million dollars or even one. Just find your own way.