I Wish I Was Happy

I wish I was happy.

In truth I don’t have a good reason to be unhappy.

I have two wonderful children who have done nothing but make me proud. I have a job that provides me financial security. I am in good health, have a hobby I am passionate about, and live in a wonderful community.

And yet, I am genuinely unhappy.

I wouldn’t define it simply as sadness. It’s more of a sense of anxiety.

I feel like I’m going through life surrounded by a large wall.

Admittedly, today is a day that ranks on the bottom of the happy scale. I have waves of emotion like this on occasion, sometimes lasting a day or a few weeks. The only time I have felt worse is when experiencing tragedy like my mom’s death or my divorce.

But even on good days I wouldn’t say that I feel happy.

I trudge through each day accomplishing what I’ve determined to get done, pushing myself through the burdensome emotions to chase my dreams – dreams which even in their fantastical images in my mind don’t make me happy, but drive me forward toward a sense of accomplishment and success, but never to satisfaction or pleasure.

I have good moments. Not ever day, but I occasionally have moments of laughter. A funny show will tickle me. My goofy son with his incredible sense of humor often says something to make me laugh. Going for a run helps remove the dark cloud and provides hope. Watching my son and daughter interact fills me with joy. Attending church or watching a sermon online inspires me.

But these wonderful feelings are temporary, scurrying away the first chance they get.

Maybe that’s the way life is supposed to be. I kind of think so.

Don’t worry – I’m not suicidal. Never have been.

I live life in my head and not my heart. Maybe that’s why I’ve never given serious thought to suicide. Maybe it’s also my happiness problem.

I have large, specific, long-term goals for my life. My goals drive me, focus me, and guide me. I don’t know if the urgency to accomplish my goals stems from a longing to be happy or a deep-seeded sense of purpose I hope to capture through success. Either way, chasing my goals means sacrificing personal time and pleasure. I gladly do it in pursuit of a perceived larger prize at the end.

I know, I’m daily sabotaging opportunities to be happy to chase after the allusive happiness I’ll never catch up to. Catch twenty-two. Fair point.

I’ll tell you, though, I’ve lived long enough to know chasing happiness is a futile, and at best temporary, pursuit. I’d rather invest my life than chase happiness for happiness’ sake.

I may have life all backwards.

Or I may understand what few are willing to accept – happiness is not the end goal.


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