Yesterday I had a lot of response from something I posted on Instagram (if you missed it, click here). I had a couple of lovely ladies message me about the post, seeking inspiration from my situation. So, I thought I’d do a blog post. Just in case there are any others of you out there who might find value in my experiences.
I’m not going to bore you with the details of what – now – seems like a previous life. But I’ll outline a few facts. There aren’t any pretty pictures to go with this post (my apologies), but it’s true and real and I hope you can benefit from my words.
What is happiness? Is it a state of mind? An emotion? A destination? A journey? Before my current situation, I believed happiness was an emotion. And an infrequent one at that. I don’t know whether I have always felt like that, or whether it was just over those particular couple of years. I can’t remember. But I do think that the presence of unhappiness provokes the question of happiness.
If you’ve never been unhappy, then you don’t seek happiness, because you are happy. If you are unhappy, you will be constantly trying to define and find happiness. And if you have been unhappy, and now aren’t, then you’ve probably got a pretty defined version of what you perceive happiness to be. Does that make sense?
Everyone will have a different opinion on this infamous ‘happiness’ we all seek, and that’s okay. Our experiences define our perception of the world, and that’s okay too. My experiences have certainly defined the way I see the world, and the way I perceive my version of happiness, and (despite what I felt at the time) I am grateful for all of those experiences. They have shaped me and, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I’m kinda fond of me.
Let’s get real for a second
I’m not going to bore you with details of my experiences, and how they shaped who I am. Those are things I hold close to me. But I am going to tell you about how I know what my version of happiness is.
In short, I’m pretty sure I was born an adult. So when I hit the adult world I was in my element. But it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. At the age of 19 I got myself what, at the time, I thought was a dream job. It was in the wedding industry, working with wedding dresses which was such a passion of mine. But the reality of the job, or more-so the establishment, was far from the dream. I’m not here to trash talk, so I’ll be concise. It was unimaginably dreadful. And I was completely miserable, to the point where I couldn’t get through an evening without crying. Not even crying about anything, just crying and I didn’t know why.
I had moments of happiness, which is why I began to see happiness as an emotion that you felt sometimes when things were better. I was kind of just coasting through my life at that time, almost numb. In January of last year I found what I genuinely can define as a dream job. We had just bought our flat, I was on a healthy salary and therefore a steady income. I worked 5 days a week, commuting around 3-4 hours a day, and did not enjoy my life one bit. My new position was a leap of faith. It was a part time position (to begin with), so financially times might be tough. But, do you know what? There is so much more to life than money. Happiness, for example.
I came home from my interview almost in tears. I couldn’t believe how lucky I felt. Inaudible squeals would be an accurate way to describe my conversation with Euan following the interview. Did I care that I’d be missing out on the money I’d become used to earning? Nope. I can’t describe the euphoria I felt that day, matched with the euphoria I felt when I handed my notice in. My notice period brought darker days, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel and I knew I could get through it.
Happiness is something I know I now have, I guess like some kind of Phoenix rising out of the ashes. It took the darkest parts of my life, both recently and years ago during my teenage struggles, for me to know what it feels like to be happy. I’m not talking about being happy like on the morning of your birthday, or when you get a PB on a 5K run. I’m talking about genuine all-consuming happiness. A separate feeling to the emotion of happy. And, something I didn’t believe in until now.
Will I be in this happiness bubble from now until forever? Probably not. Not like in Sims 2 when a sim fulfilling their lifetime want means happiness for the rest of their lives. I wish. But (real) life doesn’t work like that. What I can take away from my current situation is knowing what it feels like to experience happiness, knowing that it’s always the aim, and knowing that even in the darkest of places there is always hope to come out the other side, happier than ever.
Advice to you
If you are in a job which makes you miserable, or a relationship which is toxic or holds you back. Get. Out. Life is too short to remain miserable. There is so much out there. So many opportunities, so many places to see, so much to experience. If you are not the best version of yourself, then you need to make that change. Of course it’s terrifying, and is always going to be out of your comfort zone, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Think of all the amazing people who have achieved unimaginable things. None of them would have been anything less than terrified. Imagine if they had given up because they didn’t think they could do it, or they were scared of taking that leap. The world would be a very different place indeed.
If I can do it, then you can do it too. Make 2018 your year!