One day we grew up and realized happiness is not always a given. We realized it’s not something sustained involuntarily like breathing. Instead we learned happiness is a fluctuating experience.
We learned that some days will be full of joy and happiness and some will be full of disappointment and darkness. And that’s not unique to us individually. It’s not a punishment or something that we experience alone, but rather a guarantee of life. It’s a part of the human experience whether we like it or not.
And knowing this can feel discouraging. It can feel like staying happy or being happy is similar to a game of chase. Like we have to constantly run at full speed in order to catch it, exhausting ourselves just to snag a taste of it. Maybe we can chase happiness, and maybe we will get small grasps of it that feel good, but that won’t last. Nor is that the point of happiness.
The point of happiness isn’t to reach it like a destination. We are not permitted to be happy only once we have the expensive car, the designer bag, triple digit salaries, or the perfect relationship. Because when we keep a destination or thing as the standard of happiness, we are telling ourselves we cannot be happy unless we have that. We are telling ourselves we cannot embrace and live life fully until we’ve captured a certain lifestyle.
But the truth is, happiness isn’t meant to be chased.
Life is full of unknowns. Life is full of unexpected moments you can never quite predict or even plan for. Our paths, our desires, our interests, our motives are always changing and evolving and that’s not always going to align with any definite plan you chase.
So instead of constantly chasing after happiness, try creating it. Start small. Start with concrete actions. Start with putting one foot in front of another and committing to each step. Start filling your brain with thoughts that will support a life full of happiness instead of making you feel like it’s something to be captured.
Maybe that requires some discipline today, to pay off tomorrow. Maybe that requires you to reorganize your time and your priorities. Maybe that means you need to get clear about where and how you want to change. Maybe that looks like taking 15 minutes every day to read, setting aside time to work on that side-hustle, finding the confidence to speak up in a meeting, or even just saying hello to someone you think you might mesh well with. But you have to stop pushing off actions that will help create and sustain your future.
Because nothing worthwhile happens overnight, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. That doesn’t mean the little steps you take today, won’t turn into strides very soon. Because they will. Keep going. Keep creating. And you will realize you are creating a life of happiness after all.