pursuit of happiness

If Everything is So Great, Why Aren’t You Happy?

Your marriage is good enough, the kids are not in crises, you’re pretty healthy for the most part, and you even have good friends and activities or work that you enjoy…

Then why the hell aren’t you jumping up and down with joy?

I know you are grateful. I know it could be worse. I know it feels like a first world problem.

That’s all true.

But, the pursuit of happiness is something so ingrained in our DNA that it made it into the Declaration of Independence. It is our birthright to pursue happiness.

Aren’t the smiles what make life worth living?

The truth is that “adulting” is hard.

We are busy.

We are stressed.

We are often overwhelmed by the incessant challenges of daily life.

We live off of our to-do lists.

We seek continual excitement in checking for that important email, text, or meme that is going to turn our day from blah to wow. And even if we check our phone 30 times each day, it doesn’t come; Or it only lasts for a minute before we need more.

We are adrenaline junkies.

We multitask because we truly believe we are the rare one who can do it well.

We buy more than we need. We eat more than we need. We drink more than we need.

We text instead of call.

We get vicarious thrills from our binge-worthy TV heroes.

We numb out because we need to escape the continual feeling of “I didn’t get enough done – therefore I suck.”

Well, here is the bad news sisters… that to-do list and blah feeling are never going to go away unless you take action and make the pursuit of happiness a priority.

The work will never be done.

The stack of mail will keep growing.

The laundry will keep piling up.

The email box will not stay at zero.

The refrigerator will need restocking.

The bills will continue to come.

The taxes will need to be paid.

People will get sick.

Loved ones will die.

The dog will need to go to the vet.

Oh, and did I mention you are supposed to cook healthy meals, exercise, meditate, go to work, shower, stay informed, be a good friend, call your mother, take care of the kids or a pet or both, and be a model citizen each and every day?

Yes, I get it. And as I said before this is NOT easy.

So what can we do?

Unfortunately, many of us (myself included) were brought up with the expectation of no play until the work is done.

But the work is never done. Spontaneity is no longer an option.

So… here’s my advice:

Schedule in the play. The fun. The novel. The connection. The sex. The nature. The silly. The non-productive. The girls’ night out. The cup of tea by the fireplace. The stuff that doesn’t make it on to our to-do list.

Be proactive and put these things on the calendar. Or guess what… they won’t happen!

In our pursuit of happiness, we need to make time for these things because these are often the things that bring us true joy.

These are the things that make us smile.

These are the things that help us stay sane and healthy and live a joyful and productive life.

You have worked so hard to get to this point where everything is so great. Now it’s time to start enjoying it.

Lisa Lewtan is a guest contributor this month. Make sure you check out her bio by clicking on her name. 

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