Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. We live in a country that was founded on the belief of following your dreams. But somewhere through the years, that “pursuit of happiness” turned into “being the most successful in my career.” People in society today use this pursuit to define their happiness instead of allowing their happiness to define their pursuit.
“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards, they try to have more things or more money in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are then do what you need to do in order to have what you want.” ~Margaret Young
I have close friends that are so wrapped up in paying their bills and “surviving” that they don’t remember what makes them happy. Even if you are pursuing a dream career, you have to find happiness throughout that journey. Otherwise that tunnel is going to be so dark you won’t be able to see the light at the end of it, even when it’s shining in your face. Remember you are a person first. And if you as a person are not at your best or happy... all other aspects of you are going to suffer from it.
A good friend of mine was having a really tough time a few months ago. She was working multiple dead end jobs just to be able to barely scrape by and pay her bills each month. All while pursuing her dream of performing. At the same time, she had an amazing boyfriend, she was performing in a professional show, she had a great apartment, and a new puppy! On paper everything looked peachy. Yet, she was not happy. She felt like she was just surviving and she wanted to be THRIVING. She was SO focused on that end goal, she essentially got lost along the way and wasn’t able to enjoy much in the moment.
Hearing this from a close friend was really disheartening. I mean, no one wants to see their friends in a bad place. I think her biggest issue was her perspective. She was allowing herself to get so stressed about her financial status that it was consuming her mind, body and soul. She was so focused on the negatives that she literally had blinders on to everything else that was happening. Sometimes you have to release those fears and give them room to work themselves out. You get back the energy you put out into the universe. So, if you're constantly stressing and freaking out, that will take over your entire headspace and eventually consume your whole being.
When I asked her what made her happy... She didn’t have an answer. She said her new puppy was helping with that, but it also came with new financial responsibility that had to be an underlying thought in the back of her mind. She needed to find something... anything that truly made her happy.
When I lived in LA, my happy place was the mountains. I would take the long way to work just to drive through the beautiful mountains and think about life. If all of the beauty and life on the mountains can thrive harmoniously amongst one another, then my life would be able to find the right path to thrive in this crazy world. The mountains also reminded me that no matter what small struggles I was facing, there were bigger themes in my life that I had to be grateful for. Honestly, I was grateful for the mountains themselves. I knew that however awful my day may have been, the beautiful mountains would still be standing there in their majestic and mystifying beauty.
Now let’s look at someone’s priorities who wasn’t raised in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I have a friend in England that is a car salesman. His job, is simply how he earns his money. It doesn't define him as a person. What defines him is how he spends his time and uses that hard earned money. A typical American vacation is one week. But a typical European holiday is 1 month! Now, that is how you enjoy the life you are living now, here, in this moment.
First of all, I wholeheartedly encourage all of you to chase your dreams, and do everything in your power to follow those dreams. But you have to find happiness along the way! And it may or may not be related to those dreams, but if the only thing that will make you happy is achieving that dream… you may have some reevaluating to do.
Life is a balancing act. How do you balance your career goals, social life and personal growth? Well... there isn’t a foolproof method I can give you on that one. But, I do know that life is always better when you’re happy. Not only should we be chasing our dreams, but we should be following our JOY. And who knows, your life goals may change throughout your journey. That is okay. Let me just say that again, THAT IS OKAY. You are allowed to change your mind about what you want in life, about what makes you happy and about what you are going to do to achieve that happiness.
My challenge for you is to find one thing that brings your heart true joy this week. Whether it be enjoying your morning cup of coffee without having to rush off, tap dancing down the grocery aisle, or receiving a genuine smile from a stranger on the street. Find it, experience it, revel in it, and give yourself more time for it!