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.
I completely agree. Happiness is not the end goal. You’ve mentioned your faith in a few of your articles. I don’t know what kind of faith you have, but I am a Christian & I’d like to share with you what helps me, in hopes that you’ll be encouraged. I’ve found that the cares of this world can often seem overwhelming, especially if I don’t take enough time to devote to my relationship with Christ. My daily quiet time with God (or “Coffee with God Time” as I call it) helps me be the person He’s called me to be & though I’m not “happy” all the time, I can still reside in Christ’s eternal joy remembering I’m not traveling through life mundanly, alone, or without purpose & that my eternal end is WAY better than the beginning & middle of my life here on earth. The other thing that helps me, is taking time to serve someone else. It could be a stranger, my family, my church, or whoever! It could be planned or spontaneous, simple or elaborate. It doesn’t matter. Just so long as I’m sharing Christ’s love with someone, anyone, regularly. The best times of service are when I pray & ask God who He wants me to serve & how. He always had the best ideas!
I, too, am a Christian, and agree that consistent times alone with God help. Having an eternal hope and eternal perspective enables me to endure my general state of melancholy, but I’m also convinced that the chemical makeup of my body has something to do with my emotional stability. Exercise and diet also help (and lack thereof hurt) my mental and emotional abilities to a large degree. Right or wrong, I’ve accepted it as best I can, though I would change it in an instant if that were possible.