The Pursuit of Happiness

I want it all. At least that’s what I’ve been told to want. I want the perfect job, the perfect relationship, body, house, car, wardrobe, blah, blah, blah. You get the point. Somewhere in the midst of perfection, I’ve been told that happiness and contentment await me. The only problem is that I have yet to find them at the end of my “To Do” list or witness them magically appear in the presence of my most ideal circumstances. Because the reality is 99.9% of the time every aspect of my life is not ideal. After all, when was the last time you were in the best shape of your life, had the perfect relationship, got the job/raise you wanted, were in wonderful standing with every family member, friend or co-worker and had not an ounce of worry, stress or drama?!

That being said, it�s not that we don�t have moments of serenity, but rarely do we live in a state of supreme bliss across the board. The rest of the time we exist in a convoluted, ambiguous and confusing world with sticky miscommunications, silent expectations and not-so-silent disappointments. So how do we live in the midst of a messy world when all we yearn for is a simplified, uncluttered version of our reality? My humble suggestion and the only thing that has worked for me so far is to relinquish the fantasy that an uncluttered world even exists in the first place.

You see, I think we are all searching for the same thing. We want to be happy, loved, validated, made to feel that what we think and say matters, that we each have a unique purpose and that we�d be missed if we left. So why aren�t we taught how to authentically seek any of that out? Instead we seek happiness in public accolades, love and value in our job titles, success or other impressive achievements. And when we fall short of any of the unrealistic, unattainable expectations of the �perfect life,� we set aside our happiness, like fine china we tuck it away on the highest shelf, saving it for special occasions. In reality, that china and your happiness collects dust because it�s too precious to be brought out on a daily basis and that right, �special� moment hasn�t been provided.

My question to you, to me, to all of us is what are we waiting for? Happiness isn’t something that happens to us or awaits some magic combination when all the stars align once a year, when our tan is perfect, our crush asks us out and those white pants look smokin’ on our recently gym-kicked ass. Happiness is the pursuit of appreciation in the mist of a stressful, overwhelming Monday, filled with too many e-mails, a coffee-spilled shirt and an angry message from your friend who thought you blew her off on Friday when you accidentally fell asleep.

For instance, I woke up the other morning and surprise, my life is not perfect, not even close. My daddy is sick with cancer (which continues to be the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with), I burned my oatmeal and my mom was mad at me because I didn't call her back for three days. I had an exorbitant amount of work on my plate, needed to mail off my bills, dispute a fee charged by Bank of America and still had a tummy ache from the obscene amount of ice cream I consumed the night before. All that being said, life is too short to treat my happiness like fine china that never gets seen, used or shared. Happiness is the choice of learning to live above your circumstances and success is accepting each day just as it comes by finding love and appreciation in the midst of the mess, clutter, stress and not-so-ideal circumstances.

So use that fancy soap or bubble bath you’ve been saving, pull out the expensive stemware for no special reason, slip on your precious heels and take happy off the shelf. There’s nothing wrong with wanting it all, just accept people, things, even yourself as perfectly flawed and enjoy this life for the wonderful calamity that it really is. Happiness is a choice, so choose it today.Images courtesy of,

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