I’d hardly consider myself a pro in most areas. But, all modesty aside, I’ve become rather skilled at one thing in particular: deciding when I’ll be happy.
Of course, you don’t become an expert at something overnight. This has taken me years of practice and consistent repetition of the phrase.
I’ll be happy when…
Finals are over and I can just relax.
We’re moved in and the house is unpacked.
I start my new job and feel settled in it.
The chores are done.
This shirt fits right.
I know what I’m doing with my life.
Here’s the often frustrating reality: all these things rarely seem to align. Like, it’s summer, but I still don’t entirely know what I’m doing with my life. So, I’m almost there, just not quite.
And my quest for that all-consuming, Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch, kind of happiness continues.
Unless, perhaps, I’m missing the point, that maybe happiness isn’t the end goal.
In the occasion that I’m lost in a good book, or playing with my dogs, or invested in a conversation with my best friend, or baking a batch of brownies, or simply put, living in the moment and am able to briefly forget about my ongoing journey towards happiness, I find that I am more than happy. I’m content. I have what I need and I’m grateful for it.
“I think one of the keys to happiness is accepting that I am never going to be perfectly happy. Life is uncomfortable. So I might as well get busy loving the people around me. I’m going to stop trying so hard to decide whether they are the “right people” for me and just take deep breaths and love my neighbors. I’m going to take care of my friends. I’m going to find peace in the ’burbs. I’m going to quit chasing happiness long enough to notice it smiling right at me.”
So I may not have a 5-year plan. To be honest, I’m still kind of working on the 1-year plan. And that’s okay. Because I’ve got today. It’s time to love my people and to bloom in this life in the ’burbs.