Foreword: Before I start, please let me explain that I am not complaining in this post. I am simply stating a fact that I have found happiness to be a somewhat elusive beast in my life. I will not give up looking for it though.
I just want to be happy. I do not expect to be “over the moon” every day of my life but I would like to have more happy days than sad. It is a pursuit that I have been chasing for years.
I tried being a slacker and I tried being an overachiever. I tried buying everything I could find to fill the void and I tried owning nothing. I tried being single and being married. I tried being “Suzy Homemaker” and I tried being all business. I tried higher education and I tried lower expectations. I tried selling adult toys and I tried selling Christian books.
I tried being an art snob, reading books way over my comprehension level, feminism, and politics. I tried being an Earth Mother and being concerned about the environment. I almost tried raising chickens, but I am not good with poop of any kind, so that did not work. I went to one cooking class, one bellydance class, one yoga class, one Martial Arts class, and one craft class. I have owned businesses and closed businesses (I mean my own not someone else’s).
I drank a lot of alcohol and gave it up. I smoked cigarettes and gave them up. I swore like a sailor, okay I still do that. I exercised but never stuck with it. I took prescription meds and I stopped taking them. I rode a motorcycle, drove a Jeep and went soaring. I recently tried travel as a way to escape and found I was wrong about that too.
Well, you get the point. Finding your true authentic self is very hard work. I have bumbled down many a dead end street just looking for myself. It should not be this hard. I often wonder if other people have this problem. Does it show that I cannot “stick” with anything or am I just not right in “my skin” yet?
I do understand the difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is situational and joy is something you feel all the time no matter what you are going through. So in reality I am truly seeking joy because you cannot count on situations or other people to make you happy. It has come from within. I just wish I could find a comfortable place in which to experience joy. Then again, maybe that is the point of it. If you find it, what is there to look for after that? Maybe pursuing it is the important part. I just do not know. I want to know but I must be too stupid to figure it out.
I guess in the meantime, I will wake up in the morning (God willing), pray about it and go about trying to be a better person. I guess I will keep trying things, experimenting and searching. There must be a reason our forefathers mentioned the “pursuit of happiness” rather than a right to be happy. Today starts a new day, a new season (it is the first official day of Fall), and new to-do lists designed to help me find my true self. Instead of trying so hard to find happiness, maybe I will try to start enjoying the journey to happiness. Easier said than done, I know, but I have to try.
I find that I do better with “contentment” than happiness/joy. I’m content – I like my job, my living situation, and the opportunities I have available to me. I’m not driven to achieve anything (except lose weight… which is MY unending quest… but otherwise, I’m okay with my life. Many will probably say that I don’t strive to improve myself, but at my age I figure I’m about as “good” as I’m going to get, so I better just live with that fact and get on with it. I hope you find something akin to this feeling, my dear friend, because it’s a pretty good one!
Thank you Cathy. You make a very good point. Contentment, at this point, would be very good and I think that is what I really meant. I really do not expect unicorns and rainbows, but I just want to feel right in my skin. Your words are encouraging (as always!!). Thank you!!