Talk about crunch time! Yaow. I have missed a couple blog post days…one word: university.
Stress. You can find many synonyms which all describe a form of stress – anxiety, worry, strain. I think as a collective whole, we have become lost in the constant pursuit of something; most commonly related to happiness.
You’re probably woken up by an alarm clock daily and from there things follow as usual everyday. Right? You probably deal with jerks (even if it’s just someone who shoves you out of the way in a Starbucks line); you most likely take some form of transit to get to work or school, and let’s face it, morning commutes are poopy [insert poop emoji]. When you finally get to work/school you will likely be doing the humdrum things required of you and then time will come to go home. You get home and enjoy dinner, spend time with your significant other, watch TV, do homework, or whatever else is your norm and go to bed. Then rinse and repeat.
The thing with an ordinary day is that it is …ordinary. You have to learn to find joy in the mundane. It is good to be ambitious, to look forward to things, and to plan. Sometimes, though, we run the risk of waiting for happiness. It is very easy, especially these days, to get so wrapped up in life that we miss what is right in front of us and we forget to enjoy living. I constantly hear people say “I’ll be happy when…” or “I won’t be happy until…” and that is not only unhealthy [more on that later] but it is also really difficult to live life in that way. I assure you, if you asked me this morning what I would rather do: go to my lab and neutralize different acids all day or lay on crisp white linens in a luxurious hotel with an ocean view while eating exotics fruits alongside my sweetheart. Ding, ding, ding! Yep, most definitely option #2. That said, I try to find beauty in the average day. Living with a philosophy of “I’ll be happy when…” is exhausting. It makes everyday life a marathon of chasing castles in the sky. We may think that one day something will happen and the rest of our lives will be magnificent, glittery and shiny. But that is not the case. Happiness does not come to those who wait longingly for it. It comes to those who learn to notice it all around them on a daily basis. Life will always be a mixture of good and bad and boring and exciting and tragic and blissful and difficult and smooth. I think the point of life to enjoy the days you are given, to find beauty and happiness in the days that aren’t glamorous. Even those who have what we perceive as enchanting lives probably feel and think differently from what you’d expect.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to dream and plan and look forward to life events. But it is equally as important to be positive about today. To focus on what’s good around you and what you are grateful for, instead of taking things (or maybe even people) for granted just because you are searching and hoping for something to spring up and change your life drastically into something extravagant. That kind of thinking won’t bring you anything except disappointment with your life and those around you. In short: life is messy and largely unpredictable. So, until you change your perspective, you won’t enjoy everyday to the extent that you should. Try to see the good in your “mundane” life. Frankly speaking, your mundane life is probably riddled with what other people are praying for.
Every day won’t be a trip to the amusement park, unless you work at one…in which case…every day will be a trip to the amusement park. And that would be awful haha!
Hold on to the positive, celebrate the little things, look for what is good and hold on to that. Your loved ones, the sunshine, a delicious dinner, a funny movie, your pet, a comfy bed. There are things in this life which aren’t beautiful, so when those moments creep into our lives, it is important to have enough positive energy and thoughts built up to be able to get through it.
Remember that “when” isn’t happening until “when” happens. You may not even know what and at what point that will be. Now is happening. Today. Find something everyday which makes you smile or makes someone else smile. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant life to be a good one, all it has to be is seen in the brightest light possible and lived with enjoyment.
Coming back to why “I will be happy when…” or “I won’t be happy until…” is unhealthy:
- It breeds stress. Stress is the #1 thing that kills you. I have recently done a very large amount of research on adulthood development and read many, many scholarly articles on stress. The main idea: stress shortens your lifespan, it increases your chances of premature aging, it may lead to early on-set of diseases, it slows your metabolism down, often times it leads to insomnia, it leads to stress-related illnesses (awful stuff), it causes you to be miserable/can lead to depression. There are many nasty things that stress has been linked to, but really, need I say more?
- It causes you to forget that you deserve to be happy now.
- You become irritable, angry, pessimistic, and an overall vile human being to be around. That being due to the stress, the disappointments, the generally negative view of things.
- You compare yourself, your life and events to other people. You become jealous and bitter.
- Your world seems lackluster and dull because you miss what’s right in front. You become preoccupied with chasing something you may not even be able to clearly identify as anything more than “different” or “better”.
- You strip yourself of your own beautiful joyous life.
There are many languages around the world, but a smile speaks them all