I was on vacation in Paris, and I was stressing about the things that haven’t happened yet in order for me to be happy. I was on the white sand beaches of Tahiti, and I was flooded with anxiety worrying about the future.
I was so fixated on “happiness,” this golden version of life where everything is finally perfect, that I couldn’t enjoy these golden moments that were right in front of me. The moments that happiness is actually made of.
The pressure of “happiness” kills happiness. The desperate pursuit of it drives us crazy and quite literally in the opposite direction.
The times I’ve felt most happy were actually the simplest of moments. They were when I felt most relaxed. When my mind was most calm. When I was present with good company. When I wasn’t feeling the need to always be somewhere else, or do something else.
When I wasn’t trying to be happy.
“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.” – Chuang-Tzu
Happiness is a mind fuck. It’s the commercial, societal idea of happiness that I hate. The need for things to appear and be a certain way. To have “made it.” To have things perfect.
I get caught up in that draining mind monsoon all the time.
“I won’t be happy until I buy a house. I won’t be happy until I meet my husband. I won’t be happy until I’m successful. I won’t be happy until I make a profound impact on the world. I won’t be happy, I won’t be happy, I won’t be happy…”
My happiness recipe is really a list of reasons why I can’t be happy now.
The feeling of happiness is actually quite simple: enjoy life.
I enjoy life when I’m in the company of good friends. I enjoy life when I’m learning, writing, exploring, hanging with my mom, having brunch, sitting in the sunshine, having sex.
These are all things I can do today.
So, I guess I don’t need stars to collide and pigs to fly in order to be happy. To enjoy life. I just need to stop making my happiness so conditional, so “American Dream” (perfect house, perfect job, perfect family, perfect life). That’s the commercial version of happiness. That’s the happiness mind fuck.
Plus, what if I get all of my ideas of the “American Dream” happiness – and then lose it? Then my happiness is gone. So… I’ll only let myself enjoy life if life gives me what I want?
Then I die. Then I die just to realize that all that mattered to enjoy life all along were moments of love, learning, laughing, exploring, connecting, not worrying so damn much.
So, why can I be happy now? Today. What can I enjoy that’s already coming my way? Or already here. Those moments are scattered all around us.
That’s when I love happiness.