I don’t really know what I think of the journey vs destination quote. Actually, I think I semi-agree with both of these. I do think it’s an ongoing process (a journey), but the idea of a journey without a destination is kind of weird to wrap my head around. As for it being a choice, I think that’s putting it a little too simply. Some people have depression. Some people are in genuinely horrible situations. You can work to change your circumstances, sure, but it’s a little insulting to those people, while their fighting to get somewhere they can be happy again, to just say “happiness is a choice!” Like, they should just be okay with where they are and choose how they feel.
Also, sidetrack moment, but we don’t choose our emotions. We choose how we react to them. We can choose to work to calm ourselves when we feel anger, or cheer ourselves up, but that initial emotion isn’t a choice. It’s all what we do once that emotion comes on that’s a choice. Sometimes the best choice is to walk away, and go to a place where we can just feel, and sit with the emotion, and then go out and face life once we’ve drained our poison. But you can’t just choose to shut that emotion off, especially if it’s something huge and powerful like grief.
Okay, back to the subject of happiness. I believe there are two keys to happiness, one leading into the other. The first is letting go of expectation. Not just in the way Jenna Marbles said, which is letting go of your expectations of the world, but also going the other way: letting go of the world’s expectations of you.
What do you mean you don't care?
I found this lovely little quote that sums this up quite well:
The world has so many expectations. Get a job. But not just any job, something you’re really passionate about. But that’s not enough either, you have to be making a ton of money. Then you’ll be on the right track to be happy, but don't stop there. Get married. But make sure it’s to the perfect person. Are they beautiful? Smart? Funny? Rich? Alright. But don’t just get married, have all the babies, too. And be a perfect parent with a perfect career, in a perfect house. Now you’re a little closer to being happy.
But whatever you do, there will always be more expectations, more judgement, and the truth is, the things that genuinely make you happy might be tiny, dumb things.
That feeling you get when you're reading a book, and call something that's about to happen. Or when you get taken entirely by surprise. An unexpected deep conversation with your co-worker that brings you closer together. That shirt from your favorite TV show your boyfriend got you for Christmas.
I always get irritated with people who make fun of others for getting excited over small things. We should be excited. I honestly feel bad for you if you don't. You're missing out on the second key to happiness.
Like, maybe you like drawing. People are going to assume you want to be a famous artist, and “ARE YOU THERE YET??” But maybe that’s not what you want. Maybe you just want it to be the thing you do at the end of the day to unwind. And if you do want it, and going for it makes you happy, of course you should go for it, but don’t lose yourself in the expectation of recognition. Remember the reason you started in the first place.
I feel like the world judges some of these small, joy-bringing things, especially if they’re “nerdy.” Not so long ago, Pokemon Go was huge, and everywhere on the internet. I had never played it, but seeing the harsh judgment from others still made me uncomfortable. "You’re twenty years old playing Pokemon Go? Get a life, get a job, act like a grown up!" And I’m like, why do you care if they like playing this game? You don’t have a hobby that helps you unwind? If something 1) brings someone joy, and 2) doesn’t harm anyone, why do you care? I'm 27 years old, I'm not dead inside.
I also saw a great post about teens who still want to go trick-or-treating on Halloween. You're really upset with them for wanting to hold onto this piece of childhood innocence? Would you rather they go out and get drunk? Calm. Down.
So, to end this rather long blog, and send you off into the rest of the week, I'll leave you with this thought: