Let That Be Enough

Happiness is fleeting.  I have been told this my whole life.  Happiness comes into our lives as quickly as it slips through our fingers.  Life gets hard, and bad things happen.  We will have moments on top of the mountain, and we will have moments in the rut.  But I am not convinced it is that simple.  I think it goes deeper than that.

By this standard, everyone should have relatively equal amounts of happiness and misery.  Take a look around you, and you will realize how inaccurate that is.  Some of the most miserable people have everything, and some of the happiest people don’t.  It has nothing to do with their current life situation – it has everything to do with them.  

Maybe happiness isn’t that fleeting, maybe we just don’t know how to appreciate it when its right in front of us. 

We see our happiness, and we want more.  Good things happen to us, but there are better things that we want to happen.  We see our life but our friends lives look better on social media.

We have become a society wrapped in our own greed.  And when we find that our greed for material things cannot be satisfied, we replace it with greed for the perfect life.  We need to have the most elaborate proposal, the most pinterest worthy holiday dinner spread, the mother that can manage all.  We run ourselves into the ground trying to chase this perfect picturesque life that we don’t even want only to wonder why we are left feeling miserable.

Bad things happen and we push through them, and they make us stronger and more resilient.  But then good things happen and we brush them aside.  We don’t take the time to see what is right in front of us.  We have so much, but we push it aside because we don’t think it is enough.   We are try harder than ever to capture happiness, and all we get is this feeling that there should be more to life.  There is, we just can’t see it because it can’t be bought in a box or posed in an Instagram post.

It is right there in the midst of the messy part of our life.  It is right there in the moments gone forgotten.  It is right there waiting for you to stop looking for other’s to approve of your life.

You don’t need the world’s stamp of approval, you just need yours.  Let that be enough. 

We have lost sight of the life that happens in the margins, the life that happens when social media isn’t watching, the life that isn’t perfectly cultivated at our fingers tips.  We have lost sight of what it means to be alive, because the best things in life can’t be planned, they just happen.

It is a hard thing to be human, it is a very hard thing.  It becomes even harder when we refuse to let ourselves be human – messy, unsure, imperfect.  We are human.  We make mistakes.  We have no clue what we are doing most of the time.  We feel things deeply, sometimes too deeply.  And we are forever haunted by this voice that tells us we are not enough,  that we will never be enough.  Silence it. 

Let life your life with its messy imperfections be enough.  Let what you have be enough.  Let the things you do be enough.  Let who you are be enough, even when you believe that you never will be.

Be messy.

Be imperfect.

Be real.

Be you.

If you don’t, you will spend your life chasing someone else’s happiness.  Chase your own happiness.  No one else but you can decide what your own happiness is.  Chase your dreams relentlessly, and always believe that you are capable of more. Be complex, be confused, be chaotic, be content – be human.

Your life is beautifully imperfect, and that is enough. 

So, I’ve been thinking about this whole being happy thing, and I feel like people get lost when they think of happiness as a destination . . .  We’re always thinking that someday we’ll be happy; we’ll get that car or that job or that person in our lives that’ll fix everything.  But happiness is a mood, and it’s a condition, not a destination.  It’s like being tired or hungry, it’s not permanent.  It comes and does and that’s okay.  And I feel like if people thought of it more that way, they’d find happiness more often.” – One Tree Hill

Happiness

Photo Credit: Erwin Blumenfeld

Crunching Season

*** Crunch.  Crunch, Crunch.  Cruuunch ***

One of my favorite seasons is here in full swing, crunching season.   (Oh you call it fall?  How original of you . . .)

Nothing says fall like walking on a path a freshly fallen leaves, especially when you purposely try to step on every leaf you can.  Crunchy golden leaves are the play things of our childhood.  The delightful embrace of jumping into an ocean of crackling leaves brings us back to the simpler days of our childhood.  As more and more leaves tumble to the ground, we cannot but help think about squashing them.

So as you contemplate joining in this fun activity, here are some different levels of leaf crunching to follow depending on your commitment to the endeavor.

The first level is the walk and stomp.  This level is for those who are still testing the waters of leaf jumping, and may be a little nervous about just jumping in.  These people happen across leaves as they are walking and stomp as many as they can without looking like they are trying to play in the leaves.  However, the subtle smile that plays on their lips is a dead giveaway for the joy they are currently experiencing from stomping those golden treasures.

The next level of leaf crunching is the glance and jump.  This level is for those who want to fully embrace the leaves, but are too shy to fully dive in.  They look around to make sure no one is watching, and then they jump on the leaves like a little kid in a rain puddle.  Since they are so sneaky, you will not be able to witness this type of cruncher.   Although, they can be spotted by the small giggle they are unable to suppress afterwards, because they just jumped in a leaves without anyone knowing.

The final level of leaf crunching is the run and plunge.  This level is only for the truly committed.  These crunchers throw off all abandon, when they see a pile of leaves they do not hesitant, they go for it.  They run at the leaf pile full speed and cannon ball into it, resulting in leaves flying everywhere.  They do not care if they come out with leaves sticking all over their hair and clothes; all that matters is the awesome feeling of being surrounded in a cloud of leaves.

Warning: the run and plunge may result in landing on a pointy stick that has worked its way into the pile.  Even if they land on a pointy stick, these crunchers emerge from the pile in full out laughter.  They can be spotted by the one leaf in the back of their hair that they forgot to get out.  Even if you are not feeling as dedicated as these crunchers, it is impossible to not find happiness in flattening leaves.

So as you watch the leaves trickle down in the wind, embrace the joy of the leaf crunching season.  Take a moment out of your day to stop and stomp some leaves, after all that is what they are there for, and remember that you are never too old to get joy of crushing leaves.  Happy crunching season.

Fall 1

Photo Credit: Unknown

Restlessness and the Pursuit of Happiness

“And how is work going?”

“Work is going good, I really can’t complain.  But . . . I don’t know I have been in kind of rut, it is hard to focus.”  *My mother made some soothing listening nosies* “I’m not sure exactly what is wrong because honestly I have a great job with great bosses, I should be happy with it.”  *more soothing listening noises*

Then finally realizing I would never get there on my own, she chimed in, “You’re restless.”

“Well, I mean I don’t know . . . yeah I suppose you are right.  I’m restless.”

My whole life I have struggled to be content, even in the times when life is relatively good. I didn’t want to live my whole life waiting for the next best thing.  I had to learn to think of life as a journey not a destination.  It wasn’t so much about where I was going in life that mattered but what happened along the way.  It helped with the restlessness because I started seeing life as something to enjoy as is and not as somewhere I needed to get to. I do mean helped.  I am far from cured.

I started spending a lot of time reading and thinking about what it meant to actually enjoy my life no matter where I was or what my circumstances were. Life gets hard and it moves way too fast.  I have been trying to find ways to make the most out of the time I have and the best out of the bad situations.  In my youth and naivety I decided to create a list of things which have helped enjoy my life a little bit more.  I don’t want to saying that this list has made me happy, because happiness is fleeting and not something that can be permanently attained.  But these things have at least made me happier and less restless.

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