My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Cultivating happiness


If I just get this new job/promotion…

When I get married…

When I own a home…

If I rescue a dog…

If I lose 10 pounds…

When the Brewers win the World Series…

When the stars align…

Then I’ll be happy…

I’m guilty of the if/when happiness trap. Of putting my happiness in the hands of The Future [which we all know is a mythical land that does not exist.] Yet, that is where we place the majority of our happiness.

More than once I have found myself in the situation that I knew would make me happy, only to realize that I felt the same. Not unhappy, but not as elated and ecstatic as I imagined my life would be in that moment. It took me a long time to realize that I had been mistaking excitement for happiness.

Cultivating daily happiness, rather than cultivating excitement, has been a practice of mine for quite some time. Life is exciting, absolutely. But not every day is a parade, and the practice has been choosing to be happy in the mundane.

For example, I recently was offered my dream job. A job that I had been wishing and hoping and praying would happen for as long as I can remember. During this time, I couldn’t help but eat, sleep and breath all of the if’s and when’s.

If only I get this interview…

If they really like me…

When they offer me the job…

When I finally begin my career as a librarian…

Then I’ll be happy.

I was in this constant state of limbo, living, but not really.

It was only after I took a step back to realize that even in these moments of doubt and frustration, I was happy. Would having this “dream” job be fantastic and amazing and crazy-awesome?

Of course it would.

But did not having this “dream” job make my life any more less fantastic and amazing and crazy-awesome?

Not really.

I have so much to be thankful for.

I’ve truly got the best friends and family a girl could ever ask for, a job where people really appreciate and respect the work I do, I am lucky enough to be living in such an incredible city with new adventures just outside my doorstep and most importantly, I have a sense of who I am and where I want to be.

I was able to cultivate happiness, not just excitement.

Looking back, I can see that this journey, this very long and sometimes frustrating journey, was in and of itself pretty exciting, The thrill of a call-back, the nerves I would get every time I went in for an interview, the jubilation I would feel when I was given praise and accolades due to my talent and passion for reading and helping others discover that very same joy. In every thing that I did, every step I took or leap I made, I not only learned more about myself, but also was able to experience life in a different way. It gave me perspective, another way of viewing things.

I am a big believer in everything happening for a reason. Many times, that reason doesn’t make sense in the moment; it doesn’t have a neon sign flashing, giving you any clue as to how and why this or that occurred (or didn’t).

But man would life be a whole lot easier if it did, wouldn’t it?!

What I think this whole experience has taught me is that you can make your own happiness. It’s not something that you have to wait to be given (if you get that job, if you buy that house, when you get married or when you loose those ten pounds). You can choose to be happy, to cultivate it even when you think you can’t or don’t deserve to.

In fact, it’s in these very moments when you need it the most.

You’ve got that power.

Pretty incredible, right?

As I begin this new chapter in my life, I am going forward with a new-found appreciation for what I have and not just what could be.

The time is now.

Get excited!

P.S. I’m pre-cultivating happiness and excitement because this is the year that the Brewers win the World Series. After all, as Terence Man once said, “If you…cultivate happiness, they will win.”

Or something like that. 😉

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Comments on: "Cultivating happiness" (4)

  1. Beautifully put! This is such an incredible (and incredibly difficult) lesson to learn. Keep up the good work! You are an inspiration 

    • Thanks so much, girl! It definitely is not an easy thing to understand or do, but once you acknowledge that you have the power to choose happiness, no matter what the circumstances you may be in, it becomes really simple. Just be happy. 🙂 Life is way too short to worry about the if’s or the when’s.

  2. This is one of the greatest lessons that everyone should learn but unfortunately, a lot of people don’t. I still have to remind myself of this at times. If you’re waiting around for something or someone to make you happy, you’re going to be waiting for a very long time.

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