What do you think about when you think about happiness?
Do you think about success in your career? Sharing time with loved ones? Starting your own business? Reading a book?
It’s safe to say that for everyone, happiness will mean something completely different. It isn’t easy discovering what that means for you. I remember in my writing class in college, my professor asked me what makes me happy and what do I do during my free time that contributes to my happiness. What am I passionate about?
I couldn’t even think of an answer.
I was always so busy studying for school and working at my internship and then I was too busy stressing out about both of those things that I realized I didn’t even have a real answer. I didn’t know. I didn’t really DO many things during my free time because I was (still am) super introverted and low key. It took me all this time – about 5 years – to realize that I did know what made me happy and I was doing it all along.
Hobbies don’t have to be extreme. Not for everyone, anyway. You don’t have to go sky diving or hike Mt. Everest or save the world during your free time for it to count as your happiness project. Your happiness can be due to much simpler things in life and that is SO okay. You may feel a bit boring, but who CARES, as long as you’re HAPPY. That’s the point, isn’t it?
I realized pretty early on that my career choice – accounting – was certainly not a source of my happiness. I could 10/10 say that I was NOT passionate about finance and accounting and taxes. This should have been a red flag for me to change my major, but I also have a major issue with not owning my decisions. It is either that I don’t want to let others down (my mom, in this case) or that I fear taking responsibility for making my own choices that may lead to a poor outcome. I lack confidence in myself and my abilities which makes it easier for me to rely on others judgement and what they would do in my situation. That way, if it turns out bad, it wasn’t my fault.
When I think of happiness, I think of the hot pavement under my tiny feet as I ran around outside without a care in the world. I think about going to sleep to my favorite TV show without having to set an alarm for the next morning. I think about the smell of PERT PLUS (LMAO dear God) in my hair after I spent the day on the beach playing in the sand. I think about our family dinners every Wednesday at Nonna’s house and driving by the carnival with longing to be on the rides. I think about weekends spent how I want, not to a particular schedule. I think about summer breaks and having no where to be. I think about opening my lunches in school to find my favorite Oreo Cakesters and Dunkaroos. I think about laying in the sun or on the couch curled up with a good book. I think about working out at the gym on my own schedule, when I feel like it. I think about the sound of the ice cream man as he’s getting closer to our street in the summer time. I think about spending time with my family and friends.
I don’t think about being the CFO of a big company. I don’t think about working more hours than I play. I don’t think about having a stressful AF accounting job that I am NOT passionate about taking up most of my days. I don’t think about rigidity in my schedule. I don’t think about stressing over calories or macros or getting in 6 workouts a week. I don’t think about scrolling mindlessly through Instagram.
I read an article about how the most successful people don’t value happiness enough, constantly chasing more tangible things like money and power:
Yet reams of studies on how people seek to maximize happiness, some of them entertainingly detailed here, “suggest that people can get so caught up in chasing money” — or fame, or prestige, or fill in the blank — “that they forget why they wanted [it] in the first place.” – Fortune.com
We simply need to start remembering what made us feel happy from day one… because those things don’t really change for us even though we try to tell ourselves they do… that they must… that we’re grown up now and need to have grown up goals and grown up hobbies. It’s all wrong. The minute you shut down your inner child, you will lose yourself and you will lose all hope of feeling HAPPY. Of having PASSION. Of being YOU.
If you take anything away from this, I hope it’s that you haven’t lost your inner child and if you have, that you start to dig real deep to find her again. Only then will you truly be able to find happiness.