That is a quote that has always resonated with me. I don’t know who said it but I think it is one of the all time best quotes. It is simple but has so much wisdom to it.
(Photo courtesy of FutureAtlas.com )
Yet like many things in this life, even if you believe that something is true, it does not always mean that it is easy to internalize, achieve and live it. Happiness in your day to day life, in my opinion, is one of the most elusive things in this world.
There are many people who would say they are happy people or that they are happy with their lives, but I think (actually I know) that I can count on one hand the amount of people whom I have met who are happy everyday no matter what life brings them. What I mean is that they have a happy outlook on life and their joy of life radiates from them. I am not saying that these people don’t ever cry or even feel moments of despair when they are faced with something difficult. All I am saying is that their general day to day outlook is one of finding joy in every day and in all that life sends their way. These are the people I admire and the type of life I wish to aspire to.
I believe that the biggest barrier we have to happiness is the belief that we will be happy when….. We will be happy when we are thin. We will be happy when we are rich. We will be happy when we are successful. We will be happy when this stressful period of time at work is over. The list goes on and on and is different for everyone else.
I am not saying that things might not be easier for someone financially strapped if they came into a load of money, or that someone may not feel more confident and happy with themselves after they lose fifty pounds. I am not saying that changing jobs to something less stressful that gives you more satisfaction won’t make it easier to be happy.
That is true. All that I am saying is, why waste all that time waiting for something to be better in order for you to be happy? Find the happiness in the journey itself. Find the happiness in the little things.
A simple example is all the preparations for holidays. For me it is the Jewish holidays, for others it can be their religious holidays or secular holidays. There are some holidays that can be a logistic nightmare, not to mention time consuming and tiring. Tonight the Jewish holiday of Purim started. For this holiday we need costumes for the kids, we need to prepare food parcels to give out, we get together with family or friends for a festive meal and we go in the evening and in the morning to Synagogue to read the Scroll of Esther. The preparations for it require thought, time and money and for me personally, the costumes drive me nuts. Not so much for the little kids, but as the kids gets older they get pickier and pickier and harder to please.
There have been years that I have been so consumed with the preparations that I neglected what was important and that was getting the kids involved and excited. Sure, it is a lot faster to do things yourself. It is also difficult not to lose it when you are trying to help your kids with costumes and they are hard to please. But if you don’t relax a bit, let things slide and get your kids involved, you lose part of the opportunity to bond with your children and share the meaning and the joy of the holiday with them. After all these years, I still sometimes find myself trying to get it all over with and waiting for the holiday to pass. What a waste of time and what a missed opportunity to find joy and give my kids joy.
I am also not saying that we need to live the status quo or that we can’t have dreams, goals and aspirations. I just think that we sometimes get so caught up in trying to make our dreams, goals and aspirations a reality that we forget to see the joy and the learning in the journey. Sometimes we want something so bad that we forget to take pleasure in the process and in what we already have.
I am in many ways an impatient person. My friends who know me well are probably laughing and saying something like “that is an understatement”! If I think of something or I have an idea, I need to get it done and into action as soon as possible. If I leave things too long, I lose the drive to do it. That may be part of my attention deficit disorder, or it may just be my personality. The cause doesn’t really matter, and I have embraced this as a trait of mine, for good and for bad.
I started blogging because I have a lot of thoughts that I want to share with the world and I am hoping what I say can make a difference in people’s lives. In the two plus weeks I have been blogging, I have gotten a lot of good feedback and some neutral feedback. So far none negative, but I am sure that along the way I may get that as well. It has been tremendously satisfying committing to myself to write everyday. I have also for the most part been happy with the writing and the content.
In the past few days I found myself starting to think, okay, where do I take this from here? I don’t know if it was Heather’s post on her blog Notes from Lapland that got me thinking or whether it is just the way I am. It would seem that I am constantly yearning for more. Again, there is nothing wrong with goals and ambitions. What I think is wrong is my feeling of unrest instead of my feeling of joy and happiness. I am proud of the blog and the fact that I have been writing. So why is it that when I start to think what is next and where can I go from here, that I start feeling unrest and I seem to have lost a bit of my joy in what I am doing.
I don’t think it was a coincidence that today I came across a small inspirational book that was tucked away in the closet and that I found the quote about happiness being a means of travel not a destination. I think it was God’s way of grounding me and reminding me to take pleasure in life and in each step as it comes. I am going to do my best to live like that without giving up my dreams or aspirations.
(Photo courtesy of Mike Baird )
I think that this world would be an amazing and happy place if we all committed to finding joy in the moment and remembering that what is important is the journey not the destination. We tend to get caught up in events in our lives and lose sight of the things that make us happy. I think that we all need to look at our lives and take the steps to make sure that we travel the journey of life by the means of happiness and not wait for happiness at the end of the road.
Nobody wants to get to the end of the road and find that all along they could have had what they spent a lifetime searching for.