If there is something that I have learned in the past 25 years of exchanging co2 for oxygen it’s this: if you try to plan out moments of happiness you’ll spend your life waiting for those moments to go exactly according to plan so you can feel the happiness. Reality hits you when you realize that as much as you plan life, life happens in it’s own way without regard to your epic plans. According to my epic life plan since I was a senior in high school (2009, FYI) I’d currently be paying off all debit, selling and giving away personal items and planning my life for a 2 year service in the Peace Corp. However, there was a snag in my nearly 7 year plan- I didn’t get into the Peace Corp.
When I received the letter stating I was not selected for a Peace Corp program- I was working. I was working for a company that made me 110% miserable every single moment of every single day that they employed me, so the news was devastating to say the least. I dedicated my life for the past 5-7 years into preparing for the opportunity of the Peace Corp not giving a single moment of thought that I may not get it. Honestly I think highly of myself, even though I never had good grades and for the most part I have a mediocre attitude. But I didn’t get in. For the sanity of my parents, family and friends I pretended like I didn’t care and that though that opportunity wasn’t there, I was “looking” for my next opportunity. To be honest I was apathetic and drained of all hope. I didn’t want to try and I didn’t want to see any other opportunities that were in my future. I was embarrassed because I spent so much time focused on preparing for the Peace Corp and talking about the Peace Corp that when people asked me how I felt I’d simply say I didn’t care and I’ve moved on. But I genuinely believed that it was my calling and I didn’t exactly move on.
While all of this is happening in my personal life, my work life was tanking harder than the Titanic and because I was focused on my personal life, I didn’t realize the sinking ship until it was underwater and I was in freezing water fighting for my life. It may not be that dramatic in real life, but being almost two weeks removed from that sinking ship, it still feels that dramatic to me. To make a dramatic story short- my company restructured how things were done and my job title became more complicated and moderately useless at the same time. (I spent at least 2 weeks thinking I was unemployed while my personal dreams of being a Peace Corp member were shattered as well it was a dark two weeks for me..) I essentially had no idea what was happening and even if I had a job so eventually I made the decision to move on with my life and to look for happiness and fulfillment elsewhere.
I started a new job this week in the banking industry and I’m not going to lie after my first day I felt 100% stupid and I was near tears for 87% of the day because I felt so mentally lost. Numbers ( because I’m mildly dyslexic) terrify me- and holding peoples credit in my hands in which 1 mistake could ruin them, terrifies me even more. But as I write this post I ask myself ” Am I happy?” and the honest answer is ” more than I was two weeks ago, yes.” Where I am right now in life isn’t my dream, but I’m 25 and for right now- I’m happy. Today was day 3 at the new office and I’ve genuinely laughed and smiled more while working the last 3 days than I have collectively in the past 2 years with my previous employer. Is there office drama? YES, I work in an office with women. But do they seem to care about my well being at least in terms of my success at work? Yes. And right now, that’s more than I’m asking for.
If you plan your happiness moments and make a check list to make sure the plans happen- I promise all you will be doing for your life is planning, not checking off things, and re planning to achieve happiness. But if you take life as it is, you laugh often and hard, you cry when you need to- you get angry when you want to- and you belt out Adele when you find it necessary all while living life as it comes at you- you’ll run smack into happiness.
Last final note- Don’t plan happiness- set goals. Happiness will find you- it’s an emotion you can not plan. Seek out happiness in everyday life as you achieve your goals and you’ll find it more often. Be content with where you’re at- the cliche saying of Rome wasn’t built in a day applies to your dream life and dream job not being built in a day too (this I need to remind myself of literally daily) and finally figure out who you are by trying as many (within moral reason) things out in life as possible you’ll find yourself better AND chances are you’ll find happiness in some of those moral (emphasis on moral here) things you try in life.
Choose happiness, don’t plan it silly!