Happiness is such a multi-faceted concept. We spend so much of our time talking about it and searching for it as if it were a lost dog wandering around the neighborhood. We exhaust ourselves day and night on the pursuit of it only to return home and discover the dog had been lying in the backyard the entire time. Is our search for happiness valiant or is it just trite?
I have several views on happiness that inarguably contradict one another-yet I inarguably believe them both to be true. First and foremost I view happiness as an illusion and believe that (for the most part) we create our own happiness. Yet I also will argue that happiness is the only real goal that matters in this world. Will I care about being a blogger 5 years from now? A Marketer? A Lawyer? A Mother? A Wife? Will I decide happiness means sinking my roots even deeper in Seattle? Traveling the world nomadically? Moving to a small fishing village in the east coast and consuming only seafood for the rest of my life? In many ways my ideas of happiness have not only evolved but completely shifted over time-while I do believe certain elements of my personality are static I can’t say with 100% certainty that situations will not occur and alter my sense of self and thus my idea of happiness.
Over time I’ve slowly realized that so many of the details in life don’t really matter but rather it’s the small moments that hold meaning. It’s not whether or not you learn to ski that matters but the moments spent cuddled up on the ski lift or sipping hot cocoa and laughing in the lodge. It’s not whether or not you have the perfect gown and heels for your New Year’s Eve night out but the blissful moments spent dancing as the confetti falls all around you at midnight. It’s the moments that matter and it’s the moments that make the memories meaningful. #TypicalJordynEpiphany
Looking at my status in life right now my heart and mind are divided. When I measure myself up to the idealist checklist I’ve spent years creating for myself I am undoubtedly a failure. I’ve spent the past 6 months frolicking around, being spit on and having my hair pulled by infants in order to pay my rent. My life seems vapid and directionless. My college degree is crumpled somewhere in the trunk of my car and seems just about as useful as the J.Crew customer service associate who informed me that the shipping department mailed my order to the wrong address but it would be my job to sort it out with USPS. After 16+ years of education I still can’t afford my Kate Somerville moisturizer when I run out mid pay period. I usually burn some or all aspects of any meal I prepare. I’ve never cleaned out the inside of my car (although my Grandmother and lovely boyfriend have both surprised me by doing it for me). By many accounts I’m a mess! I’m nowhere near where I thought I should be and my “Type A”, driven, goal-oriented personality is not just disappointed but a little bit heartbroken.
Yet, when my heart chimes in my concerns are eased. I’m happy, truly happy and it doesn’t feel forced or fake. I look back on periods of my life that did feel fulfilling intellectually-times when I was sticking to my plans and checking off my goals and though some part of me was fulfilled I truly wasn’t happy. I was bogged down by the negative and harmful people in my life, I was skipping class to work so I could afford shoes because shoes distracted me from my horrible relationship and I was crying every alone on the bathroom floor more times than I care to admit. I was also a mess, but I was an unhappy mess. There’s no denying how overwhelmed I am by this “bursting at the seam” happiness I can feel bubbling over inside me. I’m surrounded by love, my world feels organized, and I have a place to truly call home. I could not be happier! So am I crazy for hoping to add a sense of intellectual fulfillment to the mix?
Though I’ve been living in a relatively calm and magical moment in time for the past few months I am perfectly aware that this sense of serenity is not permanent. Life is chaotic! There will always be struggles, panic attacks and obstacles yet I do believe some paths better equip us to deal with these obstacles than others. I’m so in love with the path I have chosen and those who have joined me (0r stuck with me along the way) but I know I need something more both to fulfill my mind and prepare me for the future I want. I am so afraid to start graduate school-for financial reasons as well as my own emotional sanity and stability.
I know the next year of my life will offer new challenges that are sure to affect other arenas in my life and I’d be lying if I denied that the overlapping of my secular life and academic career didn’t frighten me a bit. I’m so happy, I’m so comfortable…am I ready to shake it up and risk it all yet? I’m not, but if I waited until it felt safe and I felt ready I’d be waiting forever.
So I guess I leap now?