I miss the days of childhood where I would get excited for the smallest of things. Where holidays seemed so amazing that I couldn’t sleep the night before and birthdays were anticipated for months prior.
I miss being able to entertain myself with a cardboard box or a piece of paper and some crayons.
I miss running around in circles, singing at the top of my lungs in front of a large group of strangers. Did I care what they thought? No. Was that thought even present? No. Self-consciousness wasn’t an emotion that even existed at that point. But boy did it creep up. Slowly but surely it came, taking many different forms.
In middle school, it was trying to fit in. It was trying to be more grown up than I actually was. It was pretending to not be shy when that word defined me. It was a time spent trying to be outgoing and cool. High school was a lot less awkward, but presented its own sort of challenges. It was finding which “group” was yours. Where did you fit in? Were you a cheerleader, a jock, a stoner- or did you smoothly distribute yourself across the cliques?
Then comes college. It’s all about finding yourself, discovering what you love, what makes you “tick”. It’s taking responsibility for your own well-being (even if this is limited to doing your own laundry and walking yourself to the campus restaurant for dinner). It’s about first loves and heartbreak. It’s growing up.
Enter the adult world. For most, work isn’t quite as awesome as we once imagined it to be. Gone are the days when waking up for a 9am class was considered “early”. You fondly remember the days when you wished you could just get paid for doing work, instead of studying for exams. But now, you realize how amazing those days really were. You miss the constant learning and the feeling of always being surrounded by an unlimited supply of friends and social activities. You realize just how lucky you were and now, free time isn’t quite as abundant as you had thought it would be. You have more money, but you don’t have the time to spend it.
So why am I telling you this long, yet collapsed life narrative? Because I’ve found myself in this same situation. And to be completely honest, it can be a bit tough at times. Yet, recently I’ve have a few “AHA” moments that made me take pause and evaluate what really makes me happy. This is such a simple question, but it is beyond powerful.
Take a second at some point this week to write that question down on a piece of paper. What makes you happy? Then answer it, write a list. Really think about it and be honest with yourself. You may not like some of the answers and others may, in fact, surprise you.
Then answer a second question. What is keeping me from being happy? Are there areas of your life where you don’t feel satisfied? What are they? Write them down. Then, take a look. What will YOU do to change it?
Are you unhappy with your job? Write down the reasons why and what you will do to change the situation.
It may be that you need to invest some time looking elsewhere, or maybe you simply need a change of attitude. Maybe the reason you are unhappy with your job isn’t even related to the job. Are you letting outside circumstances and events spill over to other areas of your life?
Simply figuring these things out and answering these questions can make a huge difference. Once you realize what is bothing you, what you are unhappy with and WHY, you can take steps to fix it.
Once you realize that you control your own happiness, it’s a whole new world.
Sounds like something you would read in a self-help book but it’s true. When we take responsibility of our own life and are honest with ourselves, we can really make some positive changes.
If you are unhappy, fix it. Do something. Don’t just sit there and complain and be miserable all the time. If you aren’t doing anything to change your situation, then what right do you have to be unhappy? You are choosing to be miserable. Your choice.