The Irony of Chasing Happiness
Don’t worry, this is not an article to dampen all your hopes and dreams. I’ve noticed that most millennial's goal in life is to be happy and they will do anything to get there. Striving for happiness seems like a logical goal. You feel the best when you’re happy, so why would you aim for anything less than that at all times?
The problem is that life rarely allows us to be in that gleeful state of happiness for too long, due to everyday stresses and sudden events. Constantly striving for something that is almost out of reach (on a long term basis) can easily make you depressed.
You may begin to compare your life to the lives of people on social media. You feel like you’re falling behind so you constantly worry about your future. I'm here to tell you that there is no happiness in anxiety or fear.
Our capitalist society was systematically built to suppress feelings of satisfaction for the consumer. Corporations don't want you to be happy with what you have because, if you did, they would have nothing to sell you. As soon as you buy a new product, they've already created a "better" one. That's why a new version of the same phone comes out every few months and fashion trends change in a blink of an eye. Corporations fuel the 'Keeping up with the Jones's' attitude to make you feel like you're below everyone else who already has the new, popular item. This leads to a cycle of discontentment and anxiety that continuously pressures people to buy more things.
Instead of chasing happiness, live in happiness for where you are right now in life. Sure you may not have three custom Range Rovers, a private jet that flies you Europe at a moment’s notice, or five million dollar house in Malibu. But I’m sure most of you have a couple of ride or die friends that do their best to support you, basic food and shelter (even if it’s at home with your parents), and the opportunity to do activities once in a while.
No, these aren’t the most ideal circumstances, but hey we're young. We have plenty of time of get to place we want to be in life, so it’s important to enjoy the journey now. To savor the little pleasures of life, like midnight trips to the beach with your friends, sleepovers, or a simple road trip.
Live in content for the things you are already blessed to have. Live in gratitude for those around you. Live in service, to find new ways to support other. Because living in those states will lead to a more satisfying and meaningful life.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive for the finer things in life, as I believe you can reach any goal with enough work and dedication, but stressing over circumstances you can’t control right now is a waste of energy and time. I can almost promise you won’t always be happy and that you won’t always be sad. Bad things are going to happen in this world, but good things will happen too. So learn to roll with the currents instead of being taken under by the storm.