I’m not going to chase happiness anymore.
I’m not sure that aiming at happiness is the most fulfilling way to live. I know that seems like an odd thing to say, but hear me out.
I find happiness is hard to hold onto. Things happen in life that make it very difficult to be happy occasionally/sometimes/often/every 20 minutes. Happiness is a little too lofty to last and would you want it to anyway?
Isn’t the world a little more interesting and beautiful because of the contrasts and the shadows? I like a sunny day as much as the next person, but this week I have been disappointed so far by the lack of the promised storm.
So, on that note, I have decided to end my mission for happiness. The smiling faces on TV adverts can no longer convince me that the one magic ingredient that is missing from my eternal happiness is whatever gadget they are selling. I’m on a new mission now, I have been for a while actually, and that mission is to live a life of purpose, a life that has meaning.
That maybe sounds a little bit hippy or new age or maybe brings about images of turning to religion, which for some people it might be, but anyone who knows me will be aware that’s not really my thing. A search for something bigger than myself sounds like a spiritual quest, I guess in some small, quiet, personal ways it is, but mostly it’s about making myself useful.
You’re here on my website reading this, so you are probably aware of how I have decided to make myself useful (if not, have a look around before you go!) I am making myself useful by helping others move on without unhelpful feelings of anxiety weighing them down. That is where my interests, experiences and passions have lead me.
Other people make themselves useful caring for the environment, or campaigning for human rights or raising bright and caring kids. We aren’t all useful in the same way and would certainly be less effective if we tried to be. I think that’s an important thing to bear in mind while the world is in such a crazy place and it sometimes feels like if you’re not out on the streets voicing a particular opinion you’re on the “wrong side”. We’re both hoping to make the world a better place and we can do it in our own way.
So I’m switching focus from happiness to usefulness. I don’t mean that I don’t welcome happiness with open arms whenever it arrives, and it still does arrive, more often than when I was searching for it if anything. What I’m searching for instead is the little ways I can use my skills and experiences to make the world a little bit better for other people. I’m discovering so far that holding onto this wider vision gets me through hard times more smoothly than my search for happiness ever did.