Finding happiness has been a daily journey for me. Some days I can find happiness really easily, it can come to me naturally. On the other hand, there are a handful of days it is hard to find and I can start to feel lost. In those moments my first thought is "I will be happy when..." That sentence can have thousands of different endings but, each of them places pressure on a certain thing. I will be happy when I move. I will be happy when I get the promotion. I will be happy when I get the job. I will be happy when I have a relationship. I will be happy when I finish that project. Well, what if I am not happy when I get there? Then what? Then the cycle continues.
This cycle to me is pushing off happiness. Pushing it off to another point in time indicates to me that right now I am not supposed to be happy. I can only be happy at a certain point. I have done this numerous amount of times but, there is one moment when I knew I had to say no more to pushing off my happiness. This revelation came when I was a first-year at THE Ohio State University. I was young and naive and convinced I wanted to be a Veterinarian. When I set my sight on becoming one I said, I will be happy once I get there. Within six weeks I was miserable in class and thought, will I have to be unhappy for at least eight years for the ~possibility~ of being happy as a vet? I decided in that moment that I will try to stop pushing off my happiness. I changed majors, changed course, and found a new direction in life. Even with that revelation, I still found myself doing the same thing "I will be happy when...." This thought sneaks in constantly and takes hold. On one hand, it helps me keep pushing forward but at the same time, I feel like I might be missing out on life. All of a sudden parts of my life fly by and I realize I was actually happy in that moment, I just didn't realize it.
When I keep looking forward to new moments and hoping I'll experience that happiness then, I miss on what I am feeling in the now. I know that that feeling of excitement for the "arrival" provides me with happiness but, the small moments provide me with a lot of happiness as well. The moments when I am just hanging in Target with friends. The moments when my friends used to live down the street. The moments when I was living in another country. The moments when I have been working on a long, tedious project. In each of those moments, I have had happiness even when I didn't realize it. I may have been caught up with what was next or what I had to do but, joy and happiness were affluent in those ordinary moments.
I know that I will still use "I will be happy when..." but, I know it won't be the destination that will ultimately make me happy. I will make sure to stop and smell the roses as some might say. I will take in the journey to the destination and find happiness while the moment is happening, not when it passed. I can always look back fondly on the moment but, there is nothing like experiencing that Hollywood-esk Movie moment in your own life in real-time. So, let me finish that sentence, I will be happy when.... wait I will be happy now.
*A moment of happiness when I graduated from THE Ohio State University. (Dec. 2019)