I spent too much time reading books about how to budget/exercise/make friends the “right way.” I had a twisted view that once I learned enough things I would suddenly be happy, like happiness is a prize you get for checking enough boxes on some invisible list.
That doesn’t work. Now I’m just older, with more grey hair, and I spent 5 years as a stressed out, insecure, neurotic workaholic collecting unrelated skills instead of creating happy memories.
I am done waiting for the universe’s permission to be happy. I am done labeling myself as inadequate because other people are better at me than something. I am done assuming I have to change who I am to not be broken. Self-improvement isn’t about trying to “fix” who I am anymore.
All I have is today. I can’t get today back after it is gone. I am going to enjoy today and share it with good people. Building things and learning things makes me happy, so that’s still a part of my life. But back then doing them to earn happiness made me feel inadequate, as if I didn’t deserve to be happy yet. And everytime I got close, the finish line would move.
But now I’m starting at the finish line. I am doing things I enjoy because happiness is not something anyone has to earn. Happiness is a perspective of enjoying the things you have and not fretting about things we can’t control. You can choose that at any time. Yes there are boring things we still have to be as humans. I get it. But optimize on the stuff that matters. Don’t walk through a beautiful garden looking only straight down at where to put your feet. Look around at the beauty around you. Our time in this garden is finite.
We can choose to create happy moments today or we can labor tediously towards some finish line we think will complete us. Which one will you choose?
“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.” -Mady Hale
Further Reading: If this post resonated with you then you might enjoy The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. This was the book that told me to stop trying to break down the door into happyland. To find peace in the present moment. To be compassionate with myself for taking a crooked journey instead of a straight one. It is written in beautiful prose and after reading 50+ self improvement books it was philosophy that actually pointed me where I needed to go. Stephen Mitchell’s translation is the one I like best.