They say true happiness is a state of mind. What if it’s a fleeting state of mind? Does that still count?
Last Thursday night, as we were turning in, my hubby suggested that we head out to dinner the following night.
Fine by me.
The following morning, as we were getting up, he decided he’d rather stay in.
Fine by me.
A few hours into the day, he gave me a call. “Screw it, he said. Let’s go out.” Guess what I said?
Fine by me. And I really meant it.
Earlier that day it had occurred to me (before he changed the mind that he’d changed just that morning) that we had made no specific plans for the weekend. I ran through our agenda in my head, the highlights of which included several dog walks, a yoga class, a few episodes of The Crown, and lots of sleep.
Thrilling right? I remember thinking to myself at that precise moment, good grief, you’re boring. And then, practically within the same breath, no you’re not. You’re just happy.
I have to admit, I was taken a little aback by my own response. It’s not that I’d considered myself to be unhappy; it’s just that I’d considered myself to be in pursuit of happiness — the very concept of which suggests I haven’t found it yet. But then this happens and I suddenly think, I’m already there!
Tens of thousands of books have been written on finding true happiness.
The search for true happiness is talked and written about so much, you’d think it was as hard to come by as a cure for cancer. Is it, or are we just getting swept up in a movement?
I didn’t simply survive my uneventful weekend; I enjoyed it. The dog walks, the yoga, the continuing story of Queen Elizabeth (oh, Philip, whatever will you do next?), even the sleep — there was lots to love about it.
And this got me thinking that if I can tap into happiness so easily, what exactly is ‘it’ that I’m looking for? And why are so many privileged people in our culture so obsessed with searching for ‘it?’
As I contemplated this, I came across an article in which the author, Steven Sinek, talks about the difference between happiness and fulfillment. Happiness, he says, is a temporary feeling. Fulfillment, on the other hand, is deeper and longer lasting. I don’t want to get caught up in his semantics, but essentially he differentiates between momentary joy and an enduring sense of satisfaction that comes with having a purpose.
And although Sinek doesn’t say so specifically, I couldn’t help but take away the message that pursuing enduring joy, a bigger sense of purpose, fulfillment — whatever you choose to call it — will deliver you to higher moral ground.
Is someone really better for pursuing deeper, longer lasting satisfaction over moments of happiness, though? I’m not so sure, but I think the pressure is definitely on. At least, I feel it and I wonder, does anybody else?
Do you ever feel you should be pursuing something bigger and more meaningful?
If so, I ask you to stop for a moment and ask yourself why. Is it because, in your truest, most authentic heart of all hearts, you feel called to be or do something bigger? If so, I can totally respect that. Is it because you feel there’s something missing in your life and you have an inkling there’s something bigger you need to do? If so, I get and respect that, too. Or is it because you feel just an eensy weensy bit pressured to be remarkable because if you don’t go deep, you are by, process of elimination, shallow?
If that’s you, I get where you’re coming from. I’ve been where you’re coming from. I’m still a little bit at where you’re coming from. But I’d like to suggest that maybe you and I are just fine the way we are. There may be tens of thousands of books, podcasts, Oprahs and yes, bloggers, waiting to teach us how to live large, but that doesn’t mean we have to.
A small life made up of joyful moments, hey, there’s nothing wrong with that if it’s where your true happiness lies — true being the operative word.
Viv for today xo
Speaking of true happiness, here’s a glimpse into 10 things that make me happy!
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