There’s more to life than being happy

Having it all. A lot of people think it’s this balancing act. Great job. Perfect kids. Gorgeous husband. Money. Vacations in The Hamptons.

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I’m a little simpler. I thought having it all meant being happy. Whatever makes YOU happy. If what makes you happy is that balancing act, great.

For me, dreaming about moving in Austin, Texas where I can live an active life and try new things every weekend makes me happy.

But constantly searching for happiness left me discouraged with ever roadblock and challenge that came my way. Then I stumbled upon an online article at The Atlanic that changed my mind. It’s not happiness you should search for, it read, but meaning.

I used to think the two basically meant the same thing. If you’re happy, you probably have some feeling of meaning in your life, and if you feel like you have meaning in your life, you’re probably pretty happy. I now see how the two are different, but I still think they go hand-in-hand.
Finding meaning can lead to a fulfilled life, even though it requires sacrifices that may not always make you happy. Living a meaningful life means giving, which may include giving up sleeping in on Saturdays to volunteer somewhere. But I think in time, the sacrifices won’t seem much like sacrifices. And you can find happiness in the giving nature your life becomes.

So I’m going to start searching for a meaning instead of simply happiness. Go along with where I’m being lead and what I’m being dealt. I don’t know what sacrifices I’ll have to make, but I hope in time, even they will bring meaning and happiness to my life.

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What if I want extraordinary.

You can do whatever you want.

I was talking with a friend recently when I had that realization. We were confiding in each other (ok, complaining to one another) about whatever was not going so well in our lives at the time, when she mentioned not wanting to do something. Without even thinking, I responded with, “then don’t.” It was that simple. And that complex; It’s not exactly like I take my own advice on this one.

But it is that simple. Literally, every single thing we do or don’t do in life, we make the choice. You don’t want to go to work tomorrow? Don’t.

Don’t want to go to school? Don’t.
Want to go to Italy? Go. Charge the airfare to a credit card.
Want to move to a new city? Move.
Want to cry? Cry. Don’t want people to see? Sit in your car.
Want to cut your hair? Dye your hair? Do it. Do it again tomorrow if you don’t like it. Hell, shave your head for all I care.

Choices are easy. It’s the consequences that are hard. If you don’t go to work, you may not have work to go to the next day. That’s cool until rent is due.
But what about the consequence of being unhappy because you didn’t make the choice you wanted? That consequence is sometimes harder to deal with than any monetary consequence.

The hustle and bustle of life bogs us down sometimes. “I want to, but…”
But what? What do you want to do?

You’ve heard it before. Life is too short. Go do whatever you want to do, today.